The global planted area used for GM crops declined for the first time in 20 years during 2015, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).

GM soyabeans, corn, cotton, canola and other crops were sown on 179.7M ha across 28 countries last year, compared to 181.5M ha in 2014, the ISAAA said in its annual report on GM crops.

The USA had the most area planted to GM crops, at 78.9M ha, but saw the largest decline in 2015, with a fall of 2.2M ha.

The country also grew the largest variety of GM crops including soyabean, cotton, sugar beet, squash and potato.

Brazil came in second place, with about 44M ha, and saw a rise of 2M ha.

Argentina, India and Canada made up the rest of the top five countries, with 24.5M ha, 11.6M ha and 10.9M ha planted to GM crops, respectively.

Only two of the top 10 countries saw an increase, Brazil and Argentina (which was up 200,000ha).

The drop in global GM planted areas comes after 19 years of consecutive growth, the ISAAA said.

Despite the fall in planted area in 2015, the organisation said GMO crops were still the “fastest adopted crop technology in recent times,” with the global hectarage used to grow these crops increasing 100-fold between 1996 and 2015.