Data presented at a conference by Dr Charles Benbrook analyse pesticide use on GM and non-GM equivalent crops over the first 16 years of use, from 1996 to 2011. The analysis is based on widely accepted USDA data.
Crops considered are herbicide-tolerant corn, soy, and cotton; Bt corn varieties engineered to resist corn rootworm and European corn borer pests; and Bt cotton.
Benbrook’s new data challenge “conventional wisdom” on GM crops and pesticide use. Dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals assert GM crops reduce pesticide use, either based on no data or proprietary surveys of “representative fields”. Scientists repeat the claim in professional meetings and policy venues and lack of independent analyses by government or university experts allows the claim to go unchallenged, despite growing evidence to the contrary.