By Kenny Avery
One of the many reasons I like summer is for all the fresh and flavorful produce, especially sweet corn. As Monsanto’s Global Vegetable Business Lead, I’ve enjoyed some recent opportunities to taste our freshly-picked biotech sweet corn from our research fields. Not only does it taste great, but the environmental benefits of our biotech sweet corn truly makes it an outstanding product.
I want to share with you why I’m a big fan of our biotech sweet corn, and why I am thrilled our vegetable seed brand, Seminis®, is offering it to growers in the U.S. and Canada.
First, It reduces insecticide use.
If you’ve ever grown sweet corn, you understand keeping worms off of sweet corn is no easy task. Our biotech sweet corn, however, enables growers to produce sweet corn with little to no worm damage. Found in nature, the protein Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, is built into the biotech sweet corn and protect it from above- and below-ground insect pests. The Bt protein helps farmers reduce their insecticide applications by up to 85 percent! And the Bt proteins in our biotech sweet corn are the same ones that organic farmers use as an insecticide.
Second, it reduces carbon footprint, fuel use and soil compaction.
Because farmers are spraying our biotech sweet corn so much less than conventional sweet corn, they don’t have to drive their tractors across their fields as often, which in turn reduces fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
A Lifecycle Analysis study completed by the University of Arkansas found that reduced trips across the field and increased marketable yield (the number of ears produced per acre that meet consumers’ standards) reduced the carbon footprint of each ear of Performance Series™ sweet corn (biotech sweet corn) compared with conventional sweet corn. Farmers driving across their fields to spray less decreases soil compaction, which can impede root growth reducing yield and soil health.
Third, it’s safe.
We stand behind the safety and quality of all of our products, and our biotech sweet corn is no different. I have absolutely no reservations about eating our biotech sweet corn, or serving it to my family and friends because it, like all biotech crops, has been through intense testing and a thorough review and approval process. In fact, researchers have tested biotech crops more rigorously than any other foods.
Our biotech sweet corn is sweet, crisp and had great texture, and in my opinion, the fact that it has been more sustainably produced than conventional sweet corn makes it taste even better on a hot summer day.