ISSUE 14 August 3, 2000
UK TO DECIDE ON COMMERCIAL USE OF TRANSGENIC SUGARBEET IN ABOUT FOUR YEARS
According to the British Sugar Beet Review, the UK government, based on research to be conducted in the next three years, will then decide whether commercial production of genetically modified (GM) crops will be allowed.
Research will be conducted on 23 beet (fodder and sugar beet) fields to compare sugar beet tolerant to glyphosate (Roundup-Ready) with non-GM varieties. At each site, the field will be split between a GM herbicide-tolerant variety and a conventional variety. The diversity of flora, insects and other invertebrates will be measured during the growing season, before and after the application of herbicides and the bio-diversity of organisms in the GM and non-GM varieties will be compared.
Researchers at Brooms Barn have indicated that they will recommend GM sugar beet if their research indicate benefits to agriculture and the environment using GM sugar beet. However, if their findings indicate damage either to agriculture or the environment with GM sugar beet, they will advise against adoption of GM sugar beet.
Extension Sugarbeet Specialist