What is this licence for?

Bayer CropScience Pty Ltd has received approval to trial, under limited and controlled conditions, 11 types of GM cotton that have been genetically modified for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. The field trial will take place at up to six sites per year in the local government areas of Narrabri (NSW), Wyndham-East Kimberly (WA) and Central Highlands (Qld) between May 2012 and May 2015. The maximum area of plantings will be 6 ha in the first year and 36 ha in each of the second and third years, giving a maximum cumulative area of 78 ha.

What is the purpose of the trial?

The purpose of the field trial is to assess the agronomic performance of the GM cotton varieties under field conditions, and to produce seed for use in further studies or releases. The GM cotton will not be permitted to enter human food or animal feed.

How have the GM cotton varieties been modified?

The GM cotton varieties contain different combinations of genes conferring insect resistance and genes conferring herbicide tolerance. Some of the GMOs also contain an antibiotic resistance marker gene, which was used to select GM plants during initial development of the plants in the laboratory.

What controls have been imposed for this release?

The Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) for this application concluded that the release poses negligible risks to people or the environment. However, a range of licence conditions have been imposed to limit the release to the size, locations and duration proposed in the application as these were important considerations in the assessment process. As well as limits on the scale of the release, control measures have been imposed to restrict the spread and persistence of the GMOs and their introduced genetic material. These include conditions that provide for secure transport and storage of the GM plant materials, restricting pollen flow to other cotton crops, and monitoring the release site for at least 12 months after final harvest, during which time any volunteer cotton plants found must be destroyed.

Want more information?

A number of documents relating to this decision are available on the OGTR website or via Freecall 1800 181 030. These documents include the finalised RARMP, an Executive Summary, a Technical Summary and a full listing of the licence conditions.