IMPACTS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) TRAITS ON CONVENTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES
Huso, Scott R. | Wilson, William W.
In hard red spring (HRS) wheat, the two GM traits nearest to commercialization are fusarium resistant wheat (FRW) from Syngenta and Roundup Ready® wheat (RRW). Monsanto announced that it has deferred the commercialization of RRW until issues of market acceptance are alleviated. Monsanto acknowledged that it might reconsider its position if another agbiotechnology firm enters the GM wheat market. A Cournot quantity competition model was developed to determine the equilibrium quantities of conventional pesticide and agbiotechnology firms. The Cournot model was used because firms that must make production decisions ahead of the selling period, and firms with extensive research and development costs are not able to aggressively set prices. Rather, the conventional and agbiotechnology firms determine Nash equilibrium quantities and then determine a market clearing price for their respective products. The agbiotechnology firm determined a profit maximizing technology fee ($/acre) for its GM trait. The market with conventional wheat only was compared to the market with conventional and GM wheat varieties to determine the price decreases of the conventional pesticide as a result of the GM trait introduction. Changes in farmer surplus, tech firm payoffs, and sector welfare were also analyzed. Using the actual number of firms with conventional herbicides labeled for use on HRS wheat in North Dakota and marginal production costs ranging from one to three dollars, introduction of RRW would cause a 20-25% price decrease for conventional herbicides. Similarly, four firms produce conventional fungicides labeled for the suppression of FHB in HRS wheat. This value, combined with per acre marginal production costs ranging from one to three dollars, would likely cause a 19-22% price decrease for conventional fungicides, post introduction of GM FRW. Several implications arise from these results. First, adoption of a new GM wheat variety may not be as high as expected due to likely concurrent price decreases of conventional pesticides. The price decrease leads to a lower production cost of conventional varieties, and some farmers who would likely adopt the GM variety, if there were no price decrease, do not adopt because of the lower cost of conventional production. This price decrease must be included in the determination of potential adoption rates by agbiotechnology firms in their pricing decisions. Second, the release of a GM wheat variety results in an increase in surplus for all types of wheat farmers (GM adopters, conventional pesticide adopters, and no technology adopters). GM adopters benefit because of the release of the GM variety. Conventional pesticide adopters benefit due to the price decreases of the conventional pesticides. Farmers who did not adopt any technology prior to the release of GM wheat may adopt the conventional pesticide because of the lower cost. Third, the release of a GM wheat variety would result in slightly lower payoffs for conventional pesticide producing firms but higher payoffs for agbiotechnology firms. Overall, surplus to farmers and conventional and agbiotechnology firms increases due to the release of a GM wheat variety.Show more [+] Less [-]