Home > Bayer CropScience’s Liberty Link Cotton Cleared for Commercial Release in all Cotton Growing Areas

Bayer CropScience’s Liberty Link Cotton Cleared for Commercial Release in all Cotton Growing Areas

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The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has today approved Bayer CropScience’s Liberty Link cotton for commercial release in all cotton growing areas of Australia. Liberty Link cotton has been genetically modified (GM) to be tolerant to the broad-spectrum Liberty Herbicide, for which approval is expected in the next few weeks.

Bayer CropScience Cotton Unit Manager, Mr Paul Wilcox said, "After a thorough investigation and review of the safety data, which included extensive public consultation, the OGTR concluded that the commercial release of Liberty Link Cotton poses negligible risks to the health and safety of people and the environment."

The risk assessment especially investigated the weediness risks of Liberty Link cotton and concluded the consequence and likelihood of this was negligible.

"Bayer CropScience in partnership with Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD), are delighted to announce that a small amount of Sicot 80L containing the Liberty Link technology will be available in the 2006/07 season", he said.

Mr Wilcox said the general licence conditions imposed by the OGTR including ongoing licence holder suitability, auditing and monitoring provisions and reporting requirements reflect the negligible risk finding and are readily achievable in accordance with the industry best management practices that are championed by Bayer CropScience , CSD and the cotton industry.

"Liberty Link cotton will offer cotton growers greater flexibility and new options for weed management, allowing more sustainable cotton production," he said.

CSD General Manager, Adam Kay said "We are delighted to be able to offer a small quantity of this new herbicide tolerant cotton to selected growers this season for them to gain experience with a new product and to increase seed of new cotton varieties."

He explained "Whilst the licence approval covers all of Australia, the commercial phase-in of Liberty Link cotton will only involve the current cotton growing regions."

"Initially, small quantities of Liberty Link cotton would be available in the CSD elite variety Sicot 80L, suiting hot and dryland production areas. Liberty Link cotton does not contain any insecticidal genes at this stage but in following years, Liberty Link would be introduced into other high performing varieties," he said.

Australian cotton growers are very experienced and familiar with GM cotton, which now accounts for about 90% of the cotton grown in Australia. GM cotton and best management practice has ensured the sustainability of the Australian cotton industry.

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