Third-gen GM cotton – northern Australian trial up-and-away


05_17_11 ews release 7 May 2011 

Flagging the future arrival of third-generation insect resistant GM cotton in Australia, a third field trial planting is up and growing in WA’s Ord River irrigation district.

The Ord trial follows successful trial of the new cotton trait in northern NSW over the 2010/11 summer, which were planted under Monsanto’s 4-year licence with the Australian OGTR (Office of the Gene Technology Regulator) to conduct field trials.

Monsanto’s Country Lead, Peter O’Keeffe, says the new cotton trait is known as Genuity™ Bollgard® III. “This trait builds on the success of the two previous Bollgard traits which confer in-built protection to the most significant insect pest of cotton – Helicoverpa spp.

“Field trials of Genuity Bollgard III are an important part of the regulatory approval process in Australia; they allow scientists to collect data on all aspects of the new technology, including the performance of the new trait, in Australian cotton growing conditions.”

Mr O’Keeffe says the trials are a necessary step prior to a future possible commercial release. “It’s exciting that we are able to include the Ord River in the field trial program, as cotton has always been a crop regarded as having a good-fit for the Ord.

“And all going well with the scientific review and approval process over the next couple of years, we envisage that the extra insect-resistance offered by Genuity™ Bollgard® III can further underpin the region’s developing cotton industry to make use of the Ord’s excellent farming potential, while giving us the ability to manage two trials in one year.”

Sowing of around 900 hectares of Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex varieties SIOKRA 24BRF and SICOT 71BRF, has mostly concluded across the black clay-loams of the Ord Valley in what is the first commercial cotton crop in near a decade.

Ord snapshot

Cultivated area

Currently: 14,000ha; under development: 8,700ha

Key crops

  • Grains – rice, maize and chickpeas & cotton
  • Horticulture – tropical fruits, melons and pumpkins
  • Others - hybrid seed crops, tropical forestry


Mostly black clay loams, ideally suited to irrigation

Irrigation supply

Lake Argyle flood storage capacity = 18,000 gigalitres (~ 27 ‘Sydney Harbours’)


Average annual rainfall of ~850 mm Monsoonal rain (~1500mm in 2010/11)


Keryn Mclean, Corporate Affairs Ph: 03 9522 7165 Mob: 0409 536 446
Michael Worthington, CEO, PMA A-NZ Mob 0409 181 034
Steve Ogden-Barnes, Unit Chair for Practicum and Internships Deakin Graduate School of Business, Deakin University Ph: 03 9244 5021

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