PRICE will drive future segregations of genetically modified grains.
A Canadian GM weed expert, in Melbourne to speak at a recent GM conference, said only a premium for non-GM grains would ensure future segregations.
University of Guelph, Ontario, Professor Rene Van Acker said that, to have co-existence, there needed to be a premium on non-GM grains to drive the segregation and to pay for it.
"Right now there's a premium differential for non-GM soy," Prof Van Acker said.
"There's enough money in the premium to drive that."
Prof Van Acker, who spoke at the GM Coexistence Conference, said GM canola was first introduced in Canada in 1995.
He said there was no attempt at segregating GM and non-GM canola, as industry did not demand it and there was little discussion of the issue at the time.
"It was not attempted and we can't fail at something we did not try," Prof Van Acker said.
He said people began calling for segregation much later.
"Organic growers couldn't guarantee canola; more than 90 per cent of Canadian canola is GM," Prof Van Acker said.
He said the protests began when GM wheat was proposed in the US and Canada.
He said even farmers who supported GM canola opposed GM wheat because there was significant market resistance.
"The customers were saying they could be supportive of GM, but still did not want GM wheat," Prof Van Acker said.
He said roadside GM canola weeds did not pose a contamination problem to non-GM canola crops.
"Contamination of non-GM crops from weeds is unlikely," Prof Van Acker said.
"If the threshold is 0.9 per cent (for conventional canaloa) and you have a really large field near the weeds, then it would take more than the escaped population of canola weeds to threaten that."
Prof van Acker said GM canola outcrossing with wild radish would not threaten the 0.9 per cent threshold.
However, he said the outcrossing was a concern because the wild radish might become resistant to Roundup.
"Australia is the world leader in worrying about glyphosate resistance issues," Prof Van Acker said.
He said Victorian grain growers should be protective of their markets and should expect transparency from biotech companies who were developing new grains.
"When biotech companies move forward with new technology they need to let people know the timelines and whether approvals are being achieved and in what areas," he said.