Government says GM crop moratorium is lifting on January 1 2020

The state government has once again introduced regulatory changes to lift the Genetically Modified (GM) crop moratorium on mainland South Australia, this time by January 1 2020.

The same move was blocked this year in parliament, before introduced legislation was also voted down by the upper house in the last sitting week of the year.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said they wanted farmers to be able to make a choice for the upcoming 2020 season.

"The Marshall Liberal government is standing with our farmers to lift the GM moratorium on mainland South Australia and as such we have today introduced new regulations which come into effect on January 1," he said.

However, Grain Producers SA and farmers alike are welcoming the decision but remain reluctant as it could be voted down once more when state parliament resumes in February.

Eastern Eyre Peninsula farmer Tristan Baldock said he and other farmers were surprised by the move.

You do worry if that's a repeat of what happened six weeks ago...I guess this can still be overturned when parliament goes back.

Tristan Baldock

"My initial thoughts I wondered whether they were just rushing it in a bit, but then I thought it's just them holding true to their word," he said.

"You do worry if that's a repeat of what happened six weeks ago...I guess this can still be overturned when parliament goes back.

"But everything indicates that the time has come...poor old SA seems to be living in the dark ages."

Mr Baldock did say some farmers may have already placed GM seed orders in preparation for the season.

"If they can't grow it, it will put pressure on non-GM seed also," he said.

"Even having the decision today leaves a pretty narrow window to source seed."

He did say however that most farmers worked on rotations over several years and some, including him, would not be ready to implement GM crops so soon.

"You just have got to be seeing six months in front...even if we get the green light the demand is not necessarily there, we're working on five, six year rotations," he said.

"Some farmers may slot it in this year, some will in two years' time.

"But (lifting the ban) will certainly have people running into their local seed shop just to get a bag."

Mr Baldock said he was most excited about GM traits that could help struggling farmers in tough conditions like those on the Eastern Eyre Peninsula.

"It's the drought tolerant traits, the frost tolerants, nutrient improvements, the higher omega content in canola, those sorts of things that excite us," he said.

"If we can grow with 25 per cent less water, that'd be better for everyone."

GPSA chair Wade Dabinett said he just wanted certainty for growers.

"We don't care whether that is through regulations or legislation - it is up to the legislators to decide on the best way to get this done," he said.

"South Australian growers aren't interested in political game playing; they just want the choice to access world-leading genetics and get on with the job of feeding the world."

He said the GPSA will focus on ensuring the regulations were not disallowed again.

Frank Pangallo, member of the legislative council for SA Best, said the government was "playing with the security of farmers" by using regulatory changes.

"This is a reckless game of politics the minister is playing..if he refuses to introduce a bill to lift the moratorium, I will," he said.

"SA Best will not oppose GM crops but wants the government to consider a safety net for those who don't want to grow GM crops."