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What is the average price of GMO corn seeds, GMO soybean seeds, GMO cotton seeds, and GMO canola seeds per acre or per hectare?

A:Expert Answer

Your question about the average price of GM seeds is similar to asking car manufacturers about the cost of high performance tires on their cars. In both of these cases the answer is “it depends on the specific situation.” If the reason for your question is to understand how the incremental price premium for including GM traits in seeds affects the price you pay for food, then please continue reading for some helpful information.


The cost of food is often influenced by a variety of factors (drought, the price of oil affects transportation costs, etc.). USDA provides outlook data on season-average prices for crops. The USDA also provides a weekly non-GMO/GE grain report.


According to Maryland farmer and registered dietician, Jennifer Schmidt, she and her farm run the numbers every year on each crop they grow. They have been growing both GM and non-GM corn and soybeans since 1998 and have collected data annually. Jennifer breaks down the prices, average yields and other data in her response about the difference in cost to produce GM and non-GM crops.


Further, PG Economics UK agricultural economist Graham Brookes highlights several production-oriented advantages of GM crops in his response to a similar question, “Are GMOs increasing the price of food?”


Key points from Brookes’ response include:


•   "The [GM] technology adopted to date has largely been productivity-enhancing and cost-reducing technology. This means additional global production has arisen from use of the technology, equal to an extra 122 million tonnes of soybeans, 237 million tonnes of corn, 18 million tonnes of cotton lint and 6.6 million tonnes of canola in the period 1996–2012.”


•   “[T]he real price of food and feed products has fallen consistently during the last 50 years. This has come about not ‘out of the blue’ but from enormous improvements in productivity by producers. These productivity improvements have arisen from the adoption of new technologies and techniques.”