Skip to comments.Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds (GMO and Monsanto blamed)
Posted on 05/05/2010 6:44:13 AM PDT by dennisw
The superweeds could temper American agricultures enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesnt kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds.
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.
But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive it. What were talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward, Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State University, said.
To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,
The problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres, predominantly soybeans, cotton, corn.
Roundup originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers. It kills a broad spectrum of weeds, is easy and safe to work with, and breaks down quickly, reducing its environmental impact.
Sales took off in the late 1990s, after Monsanto created its brand of Roundup Ready crops that were genetically modified to tolerate the chemical, allowing farmers to spray their fields to kill the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed. Today, Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Jason Hamlin, a certified crop adviser and agronomist, looks for weeds resistant to glyphosate in Dyersburg, Tenn.
Another “scare with science” episode brought to you by the NY Times.
Here's what I want. I want the facts made available to me (not facts spouted by those with an agenda - anti-ag, big-ag, big-media, government grantees, etc...), so that I may be able to make an informed choice on what I choose to purchase and consume.
Many herbicides are over used some much more dangerous than Roundup.
What I don't grasp is the implication that Monsanto has caused a problem somewhere in all this.
I love weeds in my lawn. They stay green during droughts, don’t grow terribly high it sure is nice to not have to waste time and money dumping fertilizer and watering grass.
hmmm....ever notice how every time a Science Scare story runs in the New York Times there is always a BIG EEEVIL CORPORATION to blame?
The core of the story is true but only in those places which rely heavily on glyphosate. So, its not a country wide problem...yet. The issue is letting those plants which are resistant go to seed. Then the problem becomes far worse. Row croppers would have to put out time and $ to kill them off mechanically which most opt not to do given the economy. Weeds certainly cut into productivity which equates to hurt in the bottom line. Then theres the ‘environmental’ Thing row croppers have to deal with, the old rock and a hard place business. They get beaten up for using chems and beaten up if they do ‘excessive’ tilling. It sort of a no win either way. Everyone wants cheap food but dont want farmers to do whats necessary to produce it. Its the cheap, fast, good, deal — you get to pick only 2. Perhaps the whining city types will get a reality check when food prices go thru the roof.
My wife’s cousins farm about 1200 acres (they’re planting soybeans right now) in SW Iowa and have observed the development of superweeds. They adopted the Roundup ready routine because it saved a lot of fuel and machinery repair money.
Ping... Fact or FUD
Way to go, Monsanto!
Now, nature has caused weeds to adapt, and the problem has gotten tougher, and we're looking for a newer, better solution.
But the NYT seems to be blaming Monsanto for the problem. Would your wife's cousins be better off if round-up had never been invented? I don't see how, but I get the feeling that the NYT think so.
Monsanto hasn’t been clean as the wind-driven snow over their seeds, though.
They have been going after “seed cleaners” who help farmers use their crop for next year’s seed, even when it isn’t Monsanto seed to begin with.
They are also suing farmers for having cross polinated crops - it’s the insects’ and wind’s fault on that.
The NYT rarely prints a pro-business story so the piece on Monsanto/Roundup is not a surprise.
You bet wife’s people are glad to have Monsanto’s help in the field. Their feeling is; Monsanto will likely come up with a new weed killer for superweeds and build it into their soy and corn seed. The seed price will go up but so does everything else...
Roundup is not the problem it’s the continued use year after year that is creating the problem, we farm here in Idaho, were still conventional tillage plowing ect. and don’t have the problem but some of our neighbors have resistant weeds and not just to roundup. I will say that monsanto should have seen this coming but producers are just as much to blame.
But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive
it. What were talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward,...
Sounds like the laws of evolution haven’t been suspended.
This sounds just like a plant-involved version of the selective pressure
of antibiotics causing the emergence of “super bugs”.
If Monsanto committed a sin over Roundup, it was a bit of hubris in
understating any “unintended consequences”; e.g., if farmers overused
Roundup, the selective pressure would winnow the weeds and promote
some that are resistant to Roundup/glyphosate.
(Reminiscent of the BP exec. that said the likelihood of a severe problem
with the Transocean rig they were renting were small!)
Oh, and Monsanto should have been even more busy developing new compounds
to increase the farmers’ toolbox for dealing with weeds.
Because it was a virtual certainty that the selective pressure of
Roundup would necessitate the need for even more technology to control
the “super weeds” bound to emerge.
(and Monsanto has paid the price for not being proactive in getting
new compounds to market)
thanks for posting the story...
OVERUSE/MISUSE antibiotics, Roundup, and any other miracle compound
(and yes, they are relatively speaking, miracle compounds)...
and selective pressure will result in “unintended consequences”.
E.g., superbugs or superweeds
Up here in the high desert there are many native weeds that lap Roundup like it is nectar of the gods. They will actually grow from the water in the Roundup mixture. The only way to kill some with Roundup is to put it on full strength. I suspect that is like pouring used motor oil on - it just smothers them.
roundup ready seeds aren’t sterile they will keep producing, and they can cross pollinate for example roundup ready canola can cross with wild mustard then you have rr wild mustard. rr crops can’t be within 1 mile of non rr crops of the same crop i belive.