Bt corn in Italy: A missed opportunity for farmers and feeders

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1 Emerging Market Leaders Workshop on Effective Messaging on Global Food Production Issues May 20 th 2015, Rome Bt corn in Italy: A missed opportunity for farmers and feeders Marco Aurelio Pasti AMI - Associazione Italiana Maiscoltori Via Monteverdi Mestre Venezia tel fax

2 Corn acreage in Italy in ha 340ha 19 ha ha ha ha ha ha 235 ha ha 7.595ha ha 885 ha Po Valley: ha ha ha ha Italy ha Fonte: nostra elaborazione su dati Istat 466 ha ha 920 ha ha

3 Grain Maize acreage in Italy 2013 : ha -7% on ha 342 ha 20 ha ha ha ha ha ha 178 ha ha Po Valley: ha ha ha ha 875 ha ha ha 2014 acreage is forecasted decreasing by 5% from 2013 Fonte: nostra elaborazione su dati Istat 420 ha ha 836 ha ha

4 90% of the Italian corn is produced in Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto Friuli V. G., Emilia Romagna

5 Source: Aires Corn use in Italy

6 Yield Trend in the last 58 years

7 Yield Trend in the lasts 18 years

8 Corn Price Evolution: with and without inflation

9 Trend of Production Value in /ha Bt Corn EU25 EU27 East EU Drought Wheat : FSU Drought Corn : lower US Yield US Ethanol

10 Political and Economical changes strongly impacted corn production in Italy Changes since the 90 s in the EU Common Agricultural Politics (CAP) lowered cereals prices and introduced subsidies. These have diminished with time and become decoupled from production in the subsequent CAP reforms. In the 80 s the income of 50 hectares of maize was enough to maintain a family. Now the incomes are significantly lower and very unstable. In order to maintain their families, many farmers must take on additional employment, both on and off the farm, resulting less attention being paid to the crops.

11 Insect damage: European Corn Borer ECB is the number one pest for Italian maize. The control is important for quantity but even more for quality: fumonisins content is highly correlated with ECB damages. Chopping stalks is an old but valid practice to lower population. Spraying just after corn flowering, when silks stop elongating, is very important to prevent larvae from entering the ear. 11

12 Special high clearance sprayers 12

13 ECB (Piralide (Ostrinia Nubilalis)

14

15

16

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18 FUSARIUM-TOXINS IN EUROPE Fumonisine B1-B2 Media Deossinivalenolo Media DON and ZEA are higher Center-North Europe Fumonisins are higher in South Europe da 0 a 75% della media Europea da 75 a 125% Media di tutte le località da 125 a 250% più di 250% Zearalenone Deossinivalenolo 0.06 ppm 0.82 ppm Fumonisine B1 e B ppm dati non sufficienti Source: Indagine Europea di Syngenta Seeds Zearalenone Media

19 FUSARIUM-TOXINS IN EUROPE Fumonisins distribution Source: Indagine Europea di Syngenta Seeds

20 Chart 1: AVERAGE LEVELS OF FUMONISINS B1+B2 IN ITALIAN MAIZE YEARS

21 Maize bt and fumonisine US Maize da Munkvold et al.

22 Mais BT and Fumonisins Anno non bt Maize bt Maize average Source: A. Pietri et al. Terra e Vita n

23 Lombardy 2005 : The only Italian GM trial in the last 13 years From Maggiore et Altr. 23

24 France Experimentation Arvalis p.a. 332 mars 2007

25 EFFECT OF FB 1 ON AVERAGE DAILY GAINS OF PIGLETS ADG, g/day FB1, µg/kg ISAN - U.C.S.C. Da Piva G. e Pietri A.2002

26 Some estimates of Italian agricultural economics For arable crops: 1 million hectares of maize. If the resistant maize were grown on 0.5 (0.75) Mha with an increase in yield of 1 (2) t/ha we would have an increase of T0.5 (1.5) Mt for an increased value of 75 (225) M (150 /t). If the seed companies increased the price by 40 /ha their profit would increase by 20 (30) M. The Balance for corn growers would be 55 (195) M. In black and red conservative and maximum estimates respectively 26

27 Some estimates of Italian agricultural economics For animal farms: The most comprehensive estimate for the impact of mycotoxins contamination is a production decrease of -0.5% for bovines, -1% for pigs and up to 2% for poultry, resulting a total loss of 200M. (Piva et al). Fumonisins are by far the most abundant mycotoxins in our cereals so the use of BT corn could greatly reduce the these losses. 27

28 And what about environment? Higher yields at the same inputs means: At the same production: 500 Million Cubic meters of waters saved 90,000 TEP saved 450 tons of pesticides saved 80,000 tons of fertilizers saved At the same acreage planted: Fix 2.6 Mt of CO 2 from the atmosphere More Nitrogen removed by the harvest = less leftover in the field for ground water pollution

29 Thank you for your attention 29

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