(Reuters)—Researchers in the key corn-growing state of
Illinois are finding significant damage from rootworms in farm
fields planted in a rotation with a genetically modified corn that
is supposed to protect the crop from the pests, according to a new
Evidence gathered from fields in two Illinois counties suggests that
pest problems are mounting as the rootworms grow ever more resistant
to efforts to fight them, including crop rotation combined with use
of the biotech corn, according to the report issued by Michael Gray,
a professor of crop sciences at the University of Illinois.
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.
Researchers at Iowa State University warn that herbicide-resistant weeds
are proliferating and may jeopardize U.S. food supply.
In an article published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,
weed scientist Michael Owen said the proliferation of superweed “has
been fairly dramatic in the last two to three years.”
Weeds are developing resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in
Roundup, which has been used extensively since 1996.
U.S. soybean, cotton and corn production could suffer from further
proliferation, according to
“Today, 98 percent of U.S. soybeans, 88 percent or so of U.S. cotton
and more than 70 percent of U.S. corn come from cultivars resistant
to glyphosate,” Owen reports. Reliance on these crops — and an
accompanying weed-control strategy that employs glyphosate to the
exclusion of other herbicides — “created the ‘perfect storm’ for
weeds to evolve resistance,” Owen and Jerry Green of Pioneer Hi-Bred
International in Newark, Del., argue in their new analysis.
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:
Continue reading →
…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:
Continue reading →
As recently as late December, Monsanto was named “company of the
year” by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different
accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. “This
may be the worst stock of 2010,” he proclaimed.