In Germany, transgenic plants are grown only for research purposes. Experience with commercial cultivation of genetically modified maize in 2004 - 2008 has been used as data in scientific investigations on co-existence and has aided the development of co-existence guidelines. GM maize has been grown pre-commercially in Germany since 1998.
Of all the GM plants with EU wide approval for cultivation, only the Bt maize MON810 could be commercially cultivated in Germany. Eleven maize varieties derived from MON810 were approved for unlimited planting until 2009.
Since 2005, farmers in Germany have had to register all land on which genetically modified crops are grown in an official site register, so the exact cultivation figures are known. (see site register). The area of land under Bt maize cultivation increased from 350 hectares in 2005, the first year, to 3171 hectares in 2008. For the cultivation season in 2009, 3600 hectares were registered but were invalid since the veto of MON 810.
The total acreage of maize (GM, conventional, and organic) planted in Germany is about 2 million hectares. Most GM maize is used as animal feed on the same farm. So far, there have not been any cases of economic losses on neighbouring conventional farms due to unwanted out-crossing.
The first field trials with GMOs in Germany were conducted in 1990 with petunias. In the following years, field trials with several GM crops were conducted including transgenic maize, potato, rapeseed, pea, sugar beet, grape, poplars and tobacco.