With GM crops come herbicides, which breed resistant weeds.
This has happened in about a decade for the worse mutants.
We can reverse the problem by reversing the spraying,
using plowing, cultivation, and crop rotation instead.
Got enough Roundup and Paraquat drifting onto you? Want some 2,4-D with that? If not, you can send your comments to USDA now. Hey, what if we all plowed under the mutant pigweed instead of breeding more with poison soup!
In early July, on the sleepy Friday after Independence Day, the USDA quietly signaled its intention to greenlight a new genetically engineered soybean seed from Dow AgroSciences. The product is designed to produce soy plants that withstand 2,4-D, a highly toxic herbicide (and, famously, the less toxic component in the notorious Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange).
Readers may remember that during an even-sleepier period—the week between Christmas and the New Year—the USDA made a similar move on Dow’s 2,4-D-ready corn.
If the USDA deregulates the two products—as it has telegraphed its intention to do—Dow will enjoy a massive profit opportunity. Every year, about half of all US farmland is planted in corn and soy. Currently, Dow’s rival Monsanto has a tight grip on weed management in corn-and-soy country. Upwards of 90 percent of soy and 70 percent of corn is engineered to withstand another herbicide called glyphosate through highly profitable Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed lines. And after so many years of lashing so much land with the same herbicide, glyphosate-resistant superweeds are now vexing farmers and “alarming” weed-control experts throughout the midwest.
And that’s where Dow’s 2,4-D-ready corn and soy seeds come in. Dow’s novel products will be engineered to withstand glyphosate and 2,4-D, so farmers can douse their fields with both herbicides; the 2,4-D will kill the weeds that glyphosate no longer can. That’s the marketing pitch, anyway.
Rodale Institute has been running a side-by-side comparison of organic
and chemical agriculture since 1981.
After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of
transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the
conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long
term potential of the two systems.
And now comes evidence from the very heart of Big Ag: rural Iowa, where
Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture runs
the Long-Term Agroecological Research Experiment (LTAR), which began in
1998, which has just released its latest results.
At the LTAR fields in Adair County, the (LTAR) runs four fields: one
managed with the Midwest-standard two-year corn-soy rotation featuring
the full range of agrochemicals; and the other ones organically managed
with three different crop-rotation systems. The chart below records the
yield averages of all the systems, comparing them to the average yields
achieved by actual conventional growers in Adair County:
Norman Borlaug, instigator of the “green revolution”
of no-till and pesticides, when asked in 2000
whether organic agriculture could feed the world, said:
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India’s struggling farmers are starting to profit from a budding interest
in organic living. Not only are the incomes of organic farmers soaring
– by 30% to 200%, according to organic experts – but their yields
are rising as the pesticide-poisoned land is repaired through natural
How did this happen?
Organic farming only took off in the country about seven years
ago. Farmers are turning back to traditional farming methods for a number
Dr. Stanley Culpepper of UGA Tifton says 52 counties have the mutant pigweed.
He says they’re looking at cover crops and deep turning.
(You may know that as plowing.)
He hastily adds that they’re looking at other herbicides.
But he wraps up by saying we have to look at other methods
than herbicides: tillage and cover crops.
He frames it as diversity and integration.
What it really means is spraying poisons eventually
breeds weeds that refuse to be poisoned.
People, of course,
are not so lucky.
“To human cells glyphosate is already toxic in a very low dose.
A farmer uses a much higher dose on the field.
Roundup is even more toxic than glysophate,
for that is only one of the ingredients in Roundup.”
Roundup says none of this applies to humans and Roundup is safe.
Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of
acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets,
is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of
superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as
2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require
massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding
Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use
is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms,
degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2,
and spreading deadly plant diseases.
In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company
of the Year” to the
Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of
St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth.
The article mentions scientific studies about bad health effects
of genetically modified foods,
and goes on to warn of Monsanto maneuverings through the EPA
and the Gates Foundation.
Then he points to the European Union as leading the way:
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…Monsanto has been forced into the unenviable position of having to
pay farmers to spray the herbicides of rival companies.
If you tend large plantings of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soy or cotton,
genetically engineered to withstand application of the company’s Roundup
herbicide (which will kill the weeds — supposedly — but not the crops),
Monsanto will cut you a $6 check for every acre on which you apply at
least two other herbicides. One imagines farmers counting their cash as
literally millions of acres across the South and Midwest get doused with
Monsanto-subsidized poison cocktails.
The move is the latest step in the abject reversal of Monsanto’s longtime
claim: that Roundup Ready technology solved the age-old problem of weeds
in an ecologically benign way.
Roundup, trade name for glysophate, doesn’t work anymore because
the weeds mutated:
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The problem, Jackson explains, is that agriculture in most places is based on practices that use up limited resources. The major grains, like wheat and corn, are planted afresh each year. When the fields are later plowed, they lose soil. The soil that remains in these fields loses nitrogen and carbon.
This worries Jackson because vast quantities of soil are washed out of the fields and down the rivers, and the soil that’s left is gradually losing its nutrients.
Trying to figure out how to solve this problem, Jackson realized the answer was right in front of him. It was the patch of native prairie on his own farm — full of grasses from ankle to shoulder height, peppered with white and purple flowers, and surrounded by shrubs and cottonwood trees.
“Here is a steep, sloping bank with a lot of species diversity, featuring perennials,” Jackson says. “This is what I call nature’s wisdom.”
Perennials are plants that put down strong roots 10 feet or more into the ground and hold the soil in place. Perennials live year-round, unlike annual crops that get planted every year. In Kansas, perennials survive the harsh winters and the blazing hot summers.