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Impact of Herbicide Tolerant Crops on Soil Health and Sustainable Agriculture Crop Production

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Convergence of Food Security, Energy Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Part of the book series: Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry ((AGRICULTURE,volume 67))

Abstract

Genetically modified (GM) crops and conservation tillage adoption can have individual, combined, and synergistic impacts on agricultural systems. The objective of this chapter is to evaluate the impacts of these technologies on the environment and economic returns. Worldwide, GM crop adoption is increasing because these crops help simplify farm management, reduce production costs, and improve pest control. A review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature indicated: (1) that even though current herbicide tolerant and non-GM isolines have similar yields, profitability for farmers increased when herbicide tolerant isolines were used and (2) conservation tillage and GM crop adoption are linked. The combined adoption of both technologies reduced agricultural impacts on the environment and often improved soil and water quality. Soil quality improvements have been associated with reduced tillage, decreased erosion, and increased carbon sequestration, whereas water quality improvements are associated with greater post-emergent herbicide use that limit soil exposure and subsequent runoff. Additional benefits from using GM crops may include increased food production and soil resilience. Challenges associated with growing GM crops include the development of resistant pests, which can be minimized by following best management practices.

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Lee, S., Clay, D.E., Clay, S.A. (2014). Impact of Herbicide Tolerant Crops on Soil Health and Sustainable Agriculture Crop Production. In: Songstad, D., Hatfield, J., Tomes, D. (eds) Convergence of Food Security, Energy Security and Sustainable Agriculture. Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, vol 67. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-55262-5_10

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