From GPS guided self-driving tractors to drones monitoring crop health, today’s modern farms use an array of innovative technologies to grow crops and utilize resources more efficiently than ever before. GMOs are one of modern agriculture’s many innovations and they are already allowing farmers to grow more food with fewer resources. GMOs are also contributing to innovations beyond the farm as well, including GMO crops that can help to reduce food waste, nutritionally enhanced GM crops that can help to alleviate under-nourishment around the world and new medicines that are being developed with genetic engineering.
Growing More With Less, Sustainably
Genetically modified traits like insect-resistance and drought-resistance help to maximize yields and enable farmers to grow more food using less land and with fewer inputs like chemicals and fuel. Because of the superior weed control of genetically modified crops, farmers can till the soil much less often. That has led to improved soil health and water retention, reduced runoff, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Additionally, genetically modified plants with more efficient use of nitrogen and other important nutrients mean less fertilizer is needed, saving farmers money and reducing the amount of fertilizer in the environment.
Scientists have demonstrated biotechnology that can be used to increase the amounts of vitamins in crops such as sorghum and rice. So called “Golden Rice” is a nutritionally improved biotech crop. It is genetically engineered to provide an increased amount of beta-carotene. A serving of Golden Rice could provide half the required daily intake of pro-vitamin A for a 1 to 3 year old child.
Researchers are continuing to work on innovations in biotechnology to create GMOs that are beneficial to farmers around the world, the needs of a growing population and the environment. GMOs aimed at reducing food waste, maximizing crop yields and improving nutrition are continuing to be developed as part of modern agriculture.