Biotech soyabeans covered 50% of the global biotech crop area in 2018, according to an International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) report.
Soyabeans which were herbicide tolerant (HT) and additionally had stacked trait insect resistance (HT/IR) covered 95.9M ha in 2018 2% higher than the 2017 area, said the October report.
The biotech soyabeans comprised 69.3M ha of HT soyabeans and 26.6M ha of stacked IR/HR (Intacta), accounting for 78% of the world soyabean planted area.
Biotech soyabeans were planted in eight countries in 2018, the largest area being the USA (34.1M ha), followed by Brazil (34.9M ha), Argentina (18M ha), Paraguay (3.35M ha), Canada (2.42M ha), Uruguay (1.26M ha), Bolivia (1.26M ha) and South Africa (694,000 ha).
The ISAAA wrote that three new biotech soyabeans were also approved in Japan: DP305423 x MON87708 (high oleic acid and dicamba tolerant, for food processing), DP305423 x MON87708 x MON89788 (high oleic acid, glyphosate and dicamba tolerant for food, feed, processing and cultivation) and DP305423 x MON89788 (high oleic acid and glyphosate tolerant, for food and processing).
The soyabean stacked HB4 x GTS 40-3-2 with salt and glyphosate tolerance was also approved in Argentina for food, processing and cultivation.
In contrast, the global biotech canola area fell by 6% from 10.2M ha in 2017 to 10.1M ha in 2018, accounting for 29% of the global 34.7M ha of planted canola.
The biotech canola was grown in Australia, Canada, Chile and the USA, the ISAAA report said.
The USA and Canada had reduced biotech canola planted areas by 61% and 9.5% respectively, while Australia had a 1.5% increase.
Chile grew biotech canola on 3,350 ha in 2018 for seed export.
Since 1996, various canola varieties with multiple herbicide resistant genes for glufosinate, glyphosate and oxynil tolerance were developed and made available to the farmers. In 2018, biotech docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) canola with high oleic acid and herbicide was approved for food use in New Zealand, and for food, feed and processing in Australia and the USA.