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Around 55% of total cropland in the USA was planted with varieties having at least one genetically modified (GM) trait in 2020, according to data published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported by World Grain on 23 August.

Corn, cotton and soyabeans dominated the area planted with GM crops, which were adopted widely by US farmers in the 1990s, the Economic Research Service (ERS) report said.

When including lesser-known GM crops such as canola, potatoes, sugar beets and apples, about 55% of US cropland was planted with GM varieties by 2020.

GM varieties were beginning to spread in alfalfa and had been planted on a small commercial scale in potato, papaya, squash and apples, the ERS said.

The most common GM traits are herbicide tolerance and insect resistance, according to the report.

According to the USDA’s Acreage report, biotech varieties were planted this year on 93% of corn area, 97% of soyabean area and 95% of cotton area.

In 2023, the USDA estimated 37.6ha (92.99M acres) of corn, 33.4M ha (82.6M acres) of soyabeans and 3.8M ha (9.56M acres) of cotton would be planted with GM varieties.

Wheat, rice, barley, oats, sorghum, peanuts, sunflower, flax, beans, sugarcane, potatoes, vegetables, fruit and nuts continued to be grown mainly using conventional or non-GM planting material, the report said.