Data acquisition by farm questionnaires – progress, problems and prospects
According to Directive 2001/18/EC, a monitoring programme is obligatory for notifiers when new GM plants, grown under Part C, are placed on the market. General surveillance (GS) as part of the Post-Market Environmental Monitoring (PMEM) has to detect unpredictable adverse environmental effects, which comprise direct impacts as well as cumulative, indirect effects. Data collection by farm questionnaires is one of the basic sources that can form a useful part of a practical monitoring regime. Farm questionnaires collect information about plant growth and behaviour, adopt recordings of plant protection treatments, fertilizers etc. and provide first-hand general observations collected by farmers during their close-to-nature work. This kind of data provide information about monitoring parameters (characteristics) as well as influencing factors which are interdependent. Looking back on five years experience of monitoring the cultivation of BT and herbicide tolerant (HT) maize varieties by means of a scientific survey, advantages and constraints of this method of data acquisition will be illustrated and some examples are given.