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Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds (GMO and Monsanto blamed)
nytimes ^ | May 3, 2010 | By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK

Posted on 05/05/2010 6:44:13 AM PDT by dennisw

The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s 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 doesn’t 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 we’re 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Roundup — originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate — has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers.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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agriculture; darwin; evolution; monsanto; roundup; selectivepressure; superweeds; weeds

1 posted on 05/05/2010 6:44:13 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

Jason Hamlin, a certified crop adviser and agronomist, looks for weeds resistant to glyphosate in Dyersburg, Tenn.

2 posted on 05/05/2010 6:45:48 AM PDT by dennisw (It all comes 'round again --Fairport)
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To: dennisw

Another “scare with science” episode brought to you by the NY Times.


3 posted on 05/05/2010 6:49:16 AM PDT by VRW Conspirator (Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: VRW Conspirator
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.

4 posted on 05/05/2010 6:53:03 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Liberal Logic: Mandatory health insurance is constitutional - enforcing immigration law is not.)
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To: dennisw

Many herbicides are over used some much more dangerous than Roundup.


5 posted on 05/05/2010 6:53:39 AM PDT by Big Horn (Rebuild the GOP to a conservative party)
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To: dennisw
Weeds are a problem. Okay, I got that.
Round-up has been a good solution to that problem. Okay, I got that too.
Round-up is not as effective as it used to be. Okay, I can accept that.

What I don't grasp is the implication that Monsanto has caused a problem somewhere in all this.

6 posted on 05/05/2010 6:53:43 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: dennisw

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.


7 posted on 05/05/2010 6:55:46 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: dennisw

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?


8 posted on 05/05/2010 7:01:05 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: VRW Conspirator

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.


9 posted on 05/05/2010 7:01:38 AM PDT by 556x45
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To: ClearCase_guy

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.


10 posted on 05/05/2010 7:05:24 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: dennisw; Red_Devil 232

Ping... Fact or FUD


11 posted on 05/05/2010 7:06:58 AM PDT by tubebender ( I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it...)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Sure. It makes sense. And so, over time, Monsanto has saved your wife's cousins a bunch of money that they might have spent on fuel and machinery repair.

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.

12 posted on 05/05/2010 7:09:41 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: Buckeye McFrog

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.


13 posted on 05/05/2010 7:14:28 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

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...


14 posted on 05/05/2010 7:16:41 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: tubebender

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.


15 posted on 05/05/2010 7:17:51 AM PDT by farmer_1 (Not all democrats are horse thieves but all horse thieves are democrats!!)
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To: dennisw


But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive
it. “What we’re 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)


16 posted on 05/05/2010 7:25:24 AM PDT by VOA
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To: dennisw

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


17 posted on 05/05/2010 7:29:09 AM PDT by VOA
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To: dennisw

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.


18 posted on 05/05/2010 7:32:57 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (If you can read this you are the resistance.)
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To: All
I recall that the seeds for RoundUp Ready crops will grow only once and that the seeds that the crop produces are sterile so that farmers will have to purchase seeds from Monsanto in subsequent years to grow future crops.

If a farmer decides to plant heirloom seeds that will grow and produce crops where the seeds will also grow new crops, what happens if the Monsanto crop infects this crop by cross-pollinating with it ?


19 posted on 05/05/2010 7:36:21 AM PDT by pyx (Rule#1.The LEFT lies.Rule#2.See Rule#1. IF THE LEFT CONTROLS THE LANGUAGE, IT CONTROLS THE ARGUMENT.)
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To: pyx

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.


20 posted on 05/05/2010 7:45:50 AM PDT by farmer_1 (Not all democrats are horse thieves but all horse thieves are democrats!!)
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To: mad_as_he$$

I use a mixture of full strength Roundup and diesal fuel that works pretty good.


21 posted on 05/05/2010 7:50:58 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
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To: pyx
Monsanto and ADM have cornered the global seed market.

They have even bought up heirloom seed companies surreptitiously, and continue to do so, even though that market offers very little profit margin.

They send out lawyers into the country to harrass and sue farmers, even when their case has no merit, in a (successful) attempt to intimidate said farmers.

I consider them to be the enemy.

22 posted on 05/05/2010 8:31:52 AM PDT by I Buried My Guns (Novare Res!)
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To: dennisw
What we're talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward

This is a kind of misrepresentation. If a plant survives application of the herbicide, its resistant properties already exist. They do not evolve.

23 posted on 05/05/2010 8:37:49 AM PDT by Western Phil
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To: pyx

Already happening.


24 posted on 05/05/2010 8:44:09 AM PDT by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: dennisw

And yet, in spite of the doom and gloom from the NYT, it looks like the American Farmer is going to produce the largest crop of corn and soybeans ever seen on earth.

See tagline.


25 posted on 05/05/2010 8:59:38 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Overproduction, one of the top five worries of the American Farmer each and every year..)
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To: Ammo Republic 15

Interesting idea. I will try it.


26 posted on 05/05/2010 9:13:49 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (If you can read this you are the resistance.)
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To: farmer_1

Canola? Good old Canadian oil? Or did you mean rape?


27 posted on 05/05/2010 9:20:20 AM PDT by csmusaret (Remember, half the people in this country are below average)
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To: dennisw

Some farms use steam to kill them.


28 posted on 05/05/2010 9:44:32 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: csmusaret

Canola, but we do grow rape too


29 posted on 05/05/2010 9:56:37 AM PDT by farmer_1 (Not all democrats are horse thieves but all horse thieves are democrats!!)
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To: farmer_1

I read years ago that there was no such thing as canola. Marketers were concerned they would have a hard time selling something called rape oil so they invented the word canola. Are you telling me I have been mis- informed all these years?


30 posted on 05/05/2010 10:03:05 AM PDT by csmusaret (Remember, half the people in this country are below average)
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To: csmusaret

I hate say it but yes you were mis-informed there is fall and spring canola and winter Rape and spring rape. canola oil is used more for cooking oil, rape seed oil is more of a intdustrial oil.


31 posted on 05/05/2010 10:12:04 AM PDT by farmer_1 (Not all democrats are horse thieves but all horse thieves are democrats!!)
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To: dennisw
And Dow Chemical is developing corn and soybeans resistant to 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange, the defoliant used in the Vietnam War ...
32 posted on 05/05/2010 10:17:36 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Ever notice how we call them ‘stories’ and not news?

I hear the word story, I think fiction. I think plot, characters, conflict, story arc, crescendo, denoument.

News, to me, is a report of the facts of something. Findings of fact. I use to read news, and sometimes still do in the WSJ, where you hit the end of an article and feel like, “Wow, the end sort of happened here very suddenly.”

Then I think, “That’s what you should expect from news - here’s the facts as they are today - you want a story, go to a book store.”

One really important aspect of the series “From Earth to the Moon” was their treatment of the Apollo 13 incident. NASA couldn’t get the news media interested in the moon anymore - they had made spaceflight look as easy as airplane flight.

Then Apollo 13 hit. Now you had a story.

One of the writers commented in the backstory of how the series was made that reporters started asking the question, “How do you feel?”

He noted that the question was puzzling in that it doesn’t have anything to do with the facts, but that’s where journalism had changed forever - the triumph of feelings over facts.

Many stories have morals to them. Almost every news story has a moral. It’s part of the formula - the hero’s fatal flaw. News is dying because all the stories now sound the same, and the facts have been standing in the way of selling fiction from 1960 or so until today.

With the internet, fiction is free, as is propaganda. One no longer has to turn to “Dan Rather” or “Katie Couric” for their entertainment mixed with facts.

Entertainment is ubiquitous. Fox isn’t much better, but they are the only thing on the right you can turn to.

Drudge is king in journalism right now because the stories are pared down, and the news isn’t something you can readily find in one place somewhere else.


33 posted on 05/05/2010 10:29:33 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: farmer_1

According to Wikipedia, I would have been correct prior to the early 70s. As usual I have trouble keeping up.


34 posted on 05/05/2010 11:39:32 AM PDT by csmusaret (Remember, half the people in this country are below average)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...
Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn't kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds.
It's called staying one step ahead. Geez. I've been seeing a lot of whining and incoherent paranoid squawking about Monsanto over this stupid non-issue. One farmer I know very well has been using this combo for years already, and it has continued to work, and his fields are beautiful.
35 posted on 05/07/2010 8:51:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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