The Farm Scale Evaluations
The final results of the Farm Scale Evaluations (FSEs) of herbicide tolerant GM crops, the biggest study of the environmental impact of GM crops conducted anywhere in the world, are now available.
The FSEs were a four-year programme of research by independent researchers aimed at studying the effect, if any, that the management practices associated with Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant (GMHT) crops might have on farmland wildlife, when compared with weed control used with non-GM crops.
All of the field trials are now complete. The results for the three spring sown crops, maize, beet and spring oilseed rape, were published in 2003. The results for winter oilseed rape were published on 21 March 2005. Details of how they can be obtained are given below.
The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) established a sub-group to consider the wider issues raised by the FSE. The report produced by the sub-group, published on 17 March 2006, can be found on the ACRE website.
GM crops: Non technical summary, effects on farmland wildlife
A new non-technical summary of the main findings for all four crops tested in the FSE has been produced by the research team and scientific steering committee, and published on 21 March 2005. This document is available to download in Adobe Acrobat format [PDF] (430 KB).
Further information and results
2005: results for winter oilseed rape (published on 21st March 2005)
2003: results for maize, beet and spring oilseed rape (published 16th October 2003)
- Raw data from the FSEs
The raw data from the FSEs are available at www.farmscale.org.uk. - they are not protected by intellectual property rights.
The core studies of the farm-scale evaluations were concerned with measurements made during the growing season of the GM and non-GM comparator crops. Follow-on studies monitored numbers of weed seeds in the soil were for two years following the year in which the GM crops have been grown. Results of this follow-on work were published on 28th September 2005. For further information please see our summary page for the relevant research project.
Brian Jamieson & Associates were commissioned in 2004 to carry out an ex-post evaluation of the planning, organisation, management and communication of the Farm Scale Evaluations project and derive conclusions of potential benefit to similar studies in the future. This study involved a review of previous reports and assessments of the FSE, interviews with key participants and a workshop discussion of the emerging findings. The study by Brian Jamieson & Associates was funded in equal parts by BBSRC, NERC and Defra.
- Evaluation of the Organisation and Management of the GMHT Farm Scale Evaluations (FSEs) Adobe Acrobat format [PDF] (190 KB).
Environmental Audit Committee inquiry
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has conducted an inquiry entitled 'GM foods - Evaluating the Farm Scale Trials'. This was published on 5 March 2004. The Government has responded [PDF] (40 KB) to this report and this was published by the Environmental Audit Committee on 5 May 2004.
Background material on the farm-scale evaluations, including fact sheets, SSC minutes, interim reports, and more, is indexed below.
- Non-technical summary of main findings for maize, beet and spring oilseed rape, produced by the research team and scientific steering committee in 2003 (Adobe Acrobat format [PDF] 700 KB)
- Publication of FSE results - outline plans (February 2003)
- FSE methods papers published (February 2003)
- FSE site locations
- Leaflet - GM Crops: take a closer look
- Purity of seed confirmed for last round of GM crop trials: News Release, 30 August 2002
- Impurities found in Aventis GM rape seed Farm-Scale Evaluations:
- News Release (15 August 2002)
- Advice from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
- Aventis letter (dated 2 August) (Adobe Acrobat format, 100kb)
- Defra Report under Part VI Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (England) Regulations 2002: unauthorised GM material in spring 2002 sown oilseed rape farmscale trials [PDF] (15 KB)
- Voluntary agreement on the FSEs between Government and the farming and biotechnology industry body (SCIMAC)
- The history of the Farm-Scale Evaluations, August 2000
- The science of the Farm-Scale Evaluations, August 2000
- The Farm-Scale Evaluations of Genetically Modified herbicide tolerant crops - Paper for February 2001 AEBC meeting
- The Farm-Scale Evaluations of Genetically Modified herbicide tolerant crops - Rationale and chronology
- Autumn 2002 site assessments
- Spring 2002 site assessments
- Autumn 2001 site assessments
- Scientific Steering Committee (SSC): minutes of meetings, advice
- SSC 7th interim report - November 2002
- SSC 6th interim report - April 2002
- SSC 5th interim report - October 2001
- SSC 4th interim report - January 2001
- SSC 3rd interim report - October 2000
- SSC 2nd interim report - March 1st 2000
- SSC 1st interim report - November 11th 1999
- Research fact sheets
- Research contractors
- Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
- Agriculture & Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC)
Page last modified 14 May, 2007