Genetic resistance to clubroot is breaking down in western Canada, Bt traits are losing efficacy in the States and weeds such as palmer amaranth and kochia are swiftly becoming resistant to glyphosate. Is biotechnology really offering sustainable solutions to agricultural woes?
According to Maurice Moloney, group executive, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, though western Canadian farmers are good at rotating crops, there hasn’t been enough attention to rotations in traits.
“Biotechnology has already contributed significantly to sustainability in agriculture. We’ve reduced the use of pesticides, substantially…; we’ve improved the quality of soil by no-till agriculture; we’ve increased the biodiversity in farmland because instead of using insecticidal sprays now, we can just kill the target insects. So all of those things are a contribution to sustainability. But, of course, those traits that have contributed to sustainability have to be protected.”
In the following interview, taken at the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference in Saskatoon, Moloney talks about biotechnology’s role in sustainability and what farmers can do to protect biotech traits. Moloney also speaks to why North America is seeing so little technology beyond herbicide resistance.
Check out more of our coverage of the 2014 Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference.
Maurice Moloney was recently announced as the new CEO for the Global Institute for Food Security based in Saskatoon.