ROGUE traces of genetically-modified canola have been discovered on roadside plants near Lubeck.
GM Cropwatch technician Jessica Harrison was in the Wimmera this week testing roadside plants.
“I tested near the Lubeck silos, which is owned by GrainCorp,” she said.
“I tested four plants and all four of them were positive for the GM Roundup Ready trait.
“This shows that GM contamination is present in the area.”
Ms Harrison said the traces were part of an ongoing problem for the Wimmera.
“We have identified rogue plants every season since 2008 when GM canola was first grown commercially in Victoria,” she said.
Ms Harrison said more action must be taken to ensure GM traces were not contaminating other crops.
“We again call on Monsanto, owner of these patented weeds, to clean up our environment,” she said.
She said GrainCorp must also take responsibility for the rogue GM.
“Farmers have a basic right to be able to grow non-GM crops and not be concerned about contamination,” she said.
“We have the right to eat GM-free and farm GM-free.”
Ms Harrison said the roadside plants were also of concern to local government.
“GM rogue weeds cannot be sprayed with Roundup like other weeds, because they are Roundup tolerant,” she said.
GM Cropwatch is also concerned about proposed GM wheat trials in Horsham.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries plans to trial genetically modified wheat from November this year.
The department has applied to the Office of Gene Technology Regulator for a two-hectare trial of wheat modifed for increased yield stability and improved drought tolerance.
“There is no demand anywhere for GM wheat and it makes no sense to even look at it,” Ms Harrison said.
“The trial would run the risk of contaminating nearby farmers.”
Ms Harrison said if the Department of Environment and Primary Industries went ahead with the trial, it must ensure that the wheat was contained at all times.
“On paper they say they will, but we have to wait and see what they do in practice,” she said.
She said no commercial GM wheat was grown anywhere in the world.
“However, in May an Oregon USA farmer found Monsanto’s herbicide-tolerant GM wheat in his field, that was trialled there in 2001,” she said.
“Japan cancelled imports of US wheat, South Korea suspended imports and the European Union tested US wheat at their borders.”
Ms Harrison said GM canola traces had lessened in the past few years because not many farmers were growing it any more.
“Most farmers now know that GM canola is a dud and are not growing it,” she said.
“The GM novelty quickly wore off as GM farmers suffered losses up to $150 a hectare, according to the Birchip Cropping Group.
“Farmers now have about 70 non-GM varieties available that offer lower seed cost, higher oil content, greater blackleg resistance and more yield.”
Ms Harrison said most Wimmera growers wanted to stay GM-free but rogue GM wheat and canola were both likely on roadsides.
She said she could test weeds for any farmers who were concerned about roadside plants near their crops.
She said farmers could call her on 0407 307 231.