Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today urged farmers to ensure they sourced clean, certified seed when purchasing for the 2006 canola season.
Mr Chance said farmers should ask for a Statement of Seed Analysis when purchasing canola seed to ensure the seed met all the requirements of the WA Certification Scheme, including physical purity, seed germination rate and crop inspection for varietal purity, in line with international standards endorsed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Minister said as a result of a genetically modified (GM) presence detected last year in commercial shipments of canola, intensive testing of crops had been carried out across Australia.
“Results have shown that the ATR Grace variety was the source of low level GM co-mingling in commercial shipments,” he said.
“Fortunately, there were negligible plantings of ATR Grace in Western Australia during the 2005 season.
”WA growers can feel confident that canola seed purchased from WA farmers for the 2006 season, other than ATR Grace variety, will fall well below the agreed tolerance levels for GM presence, set at 0.5 per cent in seed for sowing and 0.9 per cent in the harvested crop.”
Mr Chance said the WA Government was working hard to get these tolerance levels for GM presence as low as possible and to remove any GM contamination from WA’s canola crop.
Farmers should also seek Statements of Seed Analysis for other seed they purchase for their 2006 crops to ensure it is also free of disease and contamination.
“Certified seed can either be purchased through private individuals or through seed companies and growers should ask for the certificate when enquiring to purchase the seed,” the Minister said.
Mr Chance also reiterated the State Government’s commitment to maintaining the moratorium on the commercial production of GM crops.
“The State Government’s stance on GM food crops will protect the lifestyle of our farming communities by protecting our overseas markets and environment,” he said.
“The Gallop Government is committed to protecting the State’s clean and green status.”
The Minister said the 2005 season had been good for most farmers and 2006 was also looking to be a promising season.
Minister's office: 9213 6700