By Paul Lilley
Technology Development Crop Lead
Because I’m the Technology Development Crop Lead for sweet corn (and a few other crops too), I get to enjoy as much fresh sweet corn as I want. For several years, we’ve been testing our GM sweet corn in our fields and on select farmer’s fields. We do this to ensure that each new GM variety not only grows well, yields well and helps prevent insect damage, but also tastes just as good as our well-liked, traditional sweet corn varieties that have been around for years.
For the farmers who tested our sweet corn on their farms, the big “wow factor” was how well our new GM sweet corn varieties were protected from the insects that they frequently have to spray insecticides for. In some places, for the first time in 25 years, farmers were able to grow sweet corn more economically because our GM sweet corn helped keep the damaging earworms under control so effectively. This is because good in-plant insect protection means fewer insecticide sprays on the corn, fewer trips across the field to spray them, and less impact on the environment.
The growers I’ve worked with to test this new GM sweet corn seed on their farms agree that it’s not only good for their farming operation, but good for consumers and good for the environment. Given the fact that it can help farmers reduce their insecticide applications by up to 85 percent, decrease fuel and energy use, and decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it’s hard for me to understand why some people don’t look at these benefits like farmers do. How can something that is good for farmers, consumers and the environment be viewed in such a bad way?
Well, perhaps if they were to come to my house when I’m boiling some freshly-picked GM sweet corn to share with my enthusiastic neighbors and family (that’s right, we all eat it without any hesitation), they might think a little differently, especially if they took a bite!
Monsanto.com: Sweet Corn Grown a Better Way