ERS Charts of Note
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Monday, March 17, 2014
Since their first successful commercial introduction in the United States in 1996, genetically engineered (GE) seeds have been widely adopted by U.S. corn, cotton, and soybean farmers. In 2013, 169 million acres of GE corn, cotton, and soybean were planted, accounting for about half of U.S. land used for crops. One trait engineered into GE corn and cotton is resistance to certain insects (by introducing a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)), protecting the plant over its entire life cycle. Bt corn was planted on 19 percent of corn acres in 2000, 35 percent in 2005, and 76 percent in 2013. Over this period, insecticide use on corn has declined for both Bt adopters and nonadopters. These trends are consistent with research findings that area-wide suppression of certain insects is associated with Bt crop use, benefiting not only Bt adopters but non-adopters as well. However, there are some recent indications that insect resistance is developing to some Bt traits in some areas, which may increase insecticide use compared to the 2010 low levels. This chart can be found in Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States, ERR-162, February 2014.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
U.S. farmers have embraced genetically engineered (GE) seeds in the more than 15 years since their commercial introduction. Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, developed to survive application of specific herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, provide farmers with a broader variety of options for effective weed control. Based on USDA survey data, HT-only corn dropped from 21 percent of planted corn acreage in 2012 to 14 percent in 2013. Insect-resistant crops contain a gene from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces a protein that is toxic to specific insects, protecting the plant over its entire life. Use of Bt-only corn dropped from around 16 percent of planted corn acreage in recent years to 5 percent in 2013. Adoption of “stacked” gene corn varieties (with both HT and Bt traits), though, increased sharply in 2013, reaching 71 percent of planted corn acres (up from 52 percent in 2012). Adoption of all GE corn, taking into account the acreage with either or both HT and Bt traits, reached 90 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 2013. This chart comes from the ERS data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., updated July 2013.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Worldwide production and use of ethanol as an alternative to fossil fuel has increased dramatically since 2000. Ethanol demand is being driven by rising world crude oil prices, increased use of ethanol as an environmentally friendly fuel oxygenate, and government incentives in many countries to reduce dependence on fossil fuel by increasing the use of renewable energy sources. Global ethanol use will continue to rise over the next decade if countries fulfill their ethanol use targets. This chart may be found in the December 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, which carry genes that allow them to survive certain herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, has been particularly rapid since they first became available to U.S. farmers in 1996. HT-only corn expanded to 23 percent of planted corn acreage in 2011. Adoption of insect-resistant (Bt) crops, containing the gene from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has also expanded. Use of Bt-only corn has remained around 16 percent of planted corn acreage in the last few years. Adoption of "stacked" gene corn varieties, though, has accelerated in recent years, reaching 49 percent of planted corn acres in 2011. This chart comes from the ERS data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., updated in July 2011.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Access to distiller's wet grains (a derivative of ethanol processing used as a feed supplement for beef and dairy cattle) could spur increased concentrations of beef and dairy herds near ethanol processing facilities. Spreading manure on energy feedstock crops and potential use of animal waste for onsite power generation provide additional incentives for herd expansion near processing facilities. Ethanol's reliance on corn as the primary feedstock and the high concentration of ethanol processing facilities in the Corn Belt could slow or reverse the recent shift in animal concentrations from the Midwest. In fact, current and planned ethanol production capacities appear to correlate strongly with the presence of livestock and, in particular, with livestock's capacity for distiller's grain consumption. This map is from the ERS research report, Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape, ERR-86, November 2009.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
About half of the growth in food-related energy use between 1997 and 2002 is explained by a shift from human labor toward a greater reliance on energy-intensive technologies. High labor costs in the foodservices and food processing industries, combined with household outsourcing of manual food preparation and cleanup efforts through increased consumption of prepared foods and more eating out, appear to be driving this result. Increases in per capita food expenditures (adjusted for inflation) and population growth also helped drive up food-related energy use over this period, with each trend accounting for roughly a quarter of the total increase. Data for 2007 show an 8-percent increase in food-related energy use since 2002. This chart was originally published in the ERS report, Energy Use in the U.S. Food System, ERR-94, March 2010.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, which carry genes that allow them to survive certain herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, has been particularly rapid since they first became available to farmers in 1996. HT soybeans expanded to 93 percent of U.S. soybean planted acreage, HT cotton reached 78 percent of cotton acreage, and HT corn expanded to 70 percent of the corn acreage in 2010. Adoption of insect-resistant (Bt) crops, containing the gene from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has also expanded. Use of Bt cotton reached 73 percent of planted cotton acreage in 2010 and Bt corn use grew from about 1 percent of corn acreage in 1996 to 63 percent in 2010. This chart and the underlying data are available in the ERS data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., July 2010.