The genetically modified INGARD™ cotton seed was released in Australia in 1996 and was greeted with high expectations and enthusiasm within the cotton industry. INGARD™ cotton seed contains the Cry1A(c) gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki for the biological control of Helicoverpa armigera and H. punctigera moth larvae in cotton. These are the most serious insect pests of cotton and account for the majority of insecticides applied to cotton in Australia. Significant environmental and economic benefits were claimed by the manufacturer (Monsanto) at the time of release through the reduction in pesticide use and from a less complex production management system. Grower attitudes and perceptions relating to INGARD™ were followed over two seasons through grower surveys. Partial budgeting of individual growers’ insecticide costs, yields and returns for paired varietal (same cotton variety with and without genetic manipulation, that is conventional and INGARDTMcotton) comparisons was done to evaluate the economic returns to each grower of the alternative technologies. These results were then compared to growers’ perceptions of the value of the INGARD™ technology package relative to the conventional Helicoverpa control technology. The economic analysis of INGARD™ versus conventional cotton supports the growers’ perceptions of a high price of INGARD™ and their desire for a lower license fee based on the 1997/98 season.


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