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.
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.
Monsanto’s stock price is down almost $4, or more than 7% today.
ST. LOUIS, May 27, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON – News) today announced it is repositioning its Roundup® business in the face of fundamental structural changes that have caused upheaval in the glyphosate industry. Focusing its glyphosate products on supporting the core seeds-and-traits business, the company plans to drastically narrow its Roundup® brand portfolio to offer farmers a simple, quality product that meets their needs at a price closer to generics.
“By reducing the uncertainty associated with Roundup, we free Monsanto to grow on its fundamentals,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant said. “What matters to our long-term growth is our seeds-and-traits business, which is on track.”
I think that’s CEO-speak for demand is down, competition is up, and Monsanto is retrenching in hopes of saving its core glysophate business.