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December 14, 2016

93.4% of the Three Major Crops in Brazil are GMO Varieties

Brazilian farmers continue to be high adopters of GMO technology in their grain and fiber production. According to the consulting firm Celeres, if you combine the planted acreage of soybeans, corn (both full-season and safrinha) and cotton, Brazilian farmers will plant 93.4% of those hectares to GMO crops.

Soybeans are the biggest cultivated crop in Brazil and it is expected that 96% or 32.7 million hectares, will be planted to GMO varieties. The second largest crop in Brazil is corn and 88.4% of Brazil's corn are GMO hybrids or 15.7 million hectares.

The Brazilian corn crop is divided into two crops. The full-season corn, which is planted in the spring, accounts for approximately 35% of Brazil's corn production while the safrinha corn crop, which is planted after the soybeans are harvested, accounts for approximately 65% of Brazil's corn production.

The full-season corn crop in Brazil is 82.3% GMO hybrids. In southern Brazil, where most of the commercial full-season corn is grown, GMO hybrids account for 95.5% of the total full-season corn production. In northeastern Brazil where a lot of the full-season corn is produced by small family farmers who grow the corn for their small livestock operations, 61% of the corn are GMO hybrids. The safrinha corn, which is grown basically by only commercial farmers, 91.8% of the corn are GMO hybrids.

The third major row crop in Brazil is cotton and 78.3% of Brazil's cotton production is from GMO varieties.

The National Technical Commission for Biosecurity in Brazil (CTNBio) has approved 58 GMO products, 8 for insect resistance, 19 for herbicide resistance, 27 for gene combinations, 1 for disease resistance, 1 for yield increase, 1 for increased industrial usage, and 1 for drought tolerance. In October, CTNBio approved three GMO corn hybrids for importation into Brazil to help ease the corn shortage. These corn hybrids can only be used for animal feed and they are not allowed to be planted in Brazil.