Skip to comments.Pests damaging biotech corn, getting an early start
Posted on 06/15/2012 10:15:53 PM PDT by smokingfrog
llinois corn growers are seeing problems already.
Corn that has been genetically engineered by Monsanto Co. to kill pests is being damaged by those pests instead and it's weeks earlier than they typically show up.
We're still early in the growing season, and the adults are about a month ahead of schedule, explained Mike Gray, a professor of entomology with the University of Illinois. I was surprised to see them and there were a lot.
Last year, farmers in several states found that the western corn rootworm a major crop pest that has the potential to seriously reduce yields was surviving after ingesting an insecticidal toxin produced by the corn plants. The corn, launched in 2003, is engineered to produce a protein, known as Cry3Bb1, derived from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. The rootworms ingest the roots of the corn, known as Bt corn, and the protein is fatal.
But farmers in six states last year reported damage from rootworm to Bt corn a sign that the product, which was grown on 37 million acres in 2011, could be losing its efficacy.
(Excerpt) Read more at stltoday.com ...
Maybe Monsanto can incorporate DDT genes...
Hmmm....does Monsanto also sell pesticides, perhaps?
I wonder if this would be primarily corn for food/feed or corn grown to make ethanol?
Monsanto engineers the corn and then patents it. That means that a farmer can not legally save seed corn he has to purchase new from Monsanto every year.
It would be a wash if the farmer purchased the insecticide or the engineered corn.
Nature, perhaps, will have the last laugh - but it will take years, maybe decades to heal the soil...
“Typically, corn farmers have had to rotate corn crops to minimize pest pressures. But with Bt corn, many simply planted corn on corn, year after year.”
In their haste to control the worlds food supply (Dictators Creed: He who controls the food, controls the people.) they forget what the Irish learned the hard way.
They grew one potato crop and without rotation. The crops were overtaken with disease and brought on the Great Famine.
I grew up on my grandparents farm in the ‘40’s. Grampa always rotated crops - changing his garden spot and planting clover in the old one to replenish the ground with nutrients.
The neighbors grew potatoes for a living - always rotated -
The simplest of farmers know this.
I admit it. The title made me imagine pin-striped suited members of congress scuttling the crops, destroying everything they touch.
Heal the soil from Bacillus thurengensis? It's the same bacteria I sprinkle on tomatoes to kill tomato horn worms. The bacteria grows in their stomachs when they ingest it, and finito horn worms.
Apparently the BT toxin in the GMO corn is no longer effective. They have attempted soaking the seed corn in a neo-nicotinoid pesticide only to find that is causing colony collapse disease in honeybees. The weeds are becoming insensitive to Roundup too. Nature has adapted. The Monsanto approach has been overcome.
Monsanto inserted the gene for the BT toxin into the corn genome. The worms that are now resistant to GMO BT toxin are also resistant to the BT bacterial powder you’ve been using.
Like the old line in Jurassic Park - Nature will find a way. Researchers have always known that the insects would adapt to the Bt resistance. Strategies have been attempted to delay the adaptation. This is not a big surprise, nor is it God’s referendum on Monsanto. Its normal biology. Happens all the time.
My tomatoes are free of leaf eating bugs but bees have free reign.
It’s all the same corn including the corn used for corn flakes and corn meal.
A massive class action suit against Monsanto would be sweet revenge.
I’m hoping that all of the non-Monsanto farmers whose crops have been cross pollinated with Monsanto’s “patents” can also sue.
It be ironic turnaround for the years long reign of terror they’ve inflicted on family farmers.
A lot of farmers haven’t rotated crops for 50 years, that’s right 50. Long before Monsanto. We were one of them.
You are just spouting a bunch of ignorant nonsense.
Did God also not WANT Norman Borlaug engineering food to withstand disease so that hundreds of millions, possibly a billion, people could eat rather than starve (mostly children) to death?
You Luddites are anti-science because you never bothered to learn anything about it. Ignorance is easy, understanding science is hard.
If this in fact the case, should Monsanto, DuPonte, and others simply throw their hands in the air and give up? Science progresses at it learns. Same as it ever was. The answer to this issue will, most likely, be solved by Monsanto.
Should the pharmaceutical companies (you know, Big Pharma) give up the search for new antibiotics simply because a particular bug has become resistant to a class of drugs?
Do you think that "Food Inc" presents a balanced and objective view of the food industry? If so, then you must be a really big fan of films made by Michael Moore.
The anti-technology nonsense you spout here is absolutely mind-boggling.
No. It won’t happen. Monsanto has already sued farmers in the past when the farmers crops were contaminated by the Monsanto GMO crops. Also, organic farmers also sued Monsanto for their GMO productions in respect to harming the organic supplies. Lost that one as well.
Well, by golly, I think they do.
What a weird coinky-dink!
So do you “just” plow in fertilizers and soil amendments? I (non-farmer) thought you’d deplete the soil fairly quickly without rotation?
Rotation was/is used to help with weed and insect control, and not so much about soil fertility. It does help ‘condition’ the soil too.
However, with the advent of herbicides which kill most weeds and leave the corn alone (Atrizine was the first really effective one, introduced to widespread use in the late 60’s) rotation suddenly wasn’t as important as before. Todays herbicide leave the fields with nary a weed, only the crop.
Next came a wider variety of insecticides, and, as this article suggests, they are a lot tougher to be effective.
For example, it’s important not to have the various little critters attack the crop until harvest, then, suddenly you want them to attack the stalks with a vengeance, break them down and turn them into organic matter as quickly as possible. So timing is everything.
A crop growing system called ‘no-till’ began in the 70’s that took advantage of the new herbicides and insecticides. Basically the new crop was just planted in the exact same location as the old one without any major tilling begin done. Using this system the soil is left undisturbed for years at a time.
Lately this has fallen a little by the wayside as the newer high yielding crops produce so much residue that is need to be covered over by plowing it under.
Fertilizer has also progressed far, far beyond the simple NPK of the 50s and 60s. Now in addition to the basic Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash, all sorts of micro nutrients are applied, some with timed release, some at different times when they are the most effective. The fertilizer business is focused on improving the soil each year, a making it a little better than in the last season. Like all other aspects, theyve been very successful, and today we have some of the most fertile soil this country has ever seen.
Seed also has come a long ways. Even though farmers can still grow their own seed, I doubt but a dozen or two all across the country do so. That is because of simple economics, it makes the farmer much more money to buy commercially grown seed, which produce 10 to 20 times as great a yield as home grown seed, much more consistently, and of mush higher quality.
And it isnt just Monsanto producing these seeds, there are hundreds of seed corn companies vying for the farmers business, each claiming their own proprietary seed can make more money for the farmer than anyone else. All this talk about Monsanto this and Monsanto that just comes from uninformed people who visit Leftists sites and believe their lies. It also comes from (I suspect) FR trolls whose goal is to damage the farming industry. Monsanto may be one of the biggest, but they have a lot of very fierce competition.
Add in modern GPS and data technology which break large hundreds of acres fields into small plots of a small fraction of an acre, combine in machinery which can dispense seed, herbicide, insecticide and specific tillage machine adjustments on the fly and what results is a field with tens of thousands of very specific seed populations, insecticides and fertilizers needed for each tiny plot, dispensed in the most efficient method possible. This all happens with very wide machines traveling at 5 mph or better making hundreds of adjustment every minute.
The result has been an increase in yields nearly undreamed of only 30 or 40 years ago. By way of example, in 1966 I had a test plot test different corn seeds against each other. The best did 90 some bushels per acre.
My friend farms that land now, using most of the methods I just outlined. He regularly gets over 200 bushes per acre on that same ground, Better seed, better fertilizer, better tillage all contribute to this bonanza. BTW, my grandfather raised about 30 bushels per acre on that ground, using his home grown seed. We are crossing the threshold even as you read this to turn that 200 bushels per acre into 300. Amazing, amazing times we live in.
The farmer is better of for this, but the big winners are the consumers, food prices (as a percent of disposable income) have fallen 30% during the last 40 years.
Sorry for the long answer, but all this hand wringing nonsense (not by you) irritates me, misleads the average consumer, and generally is destructive to an amazing food producing system. Dont listen to them.
Monsanto has a huge investment that is cratering. They need to get ahead of the problem, but they are too late for this planting season. New products take time to develop, test and deploy. Will they have a product reasy for next season?
Science does a good job of providing solutions to our problems when allowed to do so. Unfortunately, government and Luddites have a long history of trying to stop science from progressing.
Belated thanks for your very informative response. I guess I asked the right guy! ;-)
It truly is amazing what modern agriculture has accomplished and the yields are proof positive of their efficacy.
Again, thanks. ;-)
You’re most welcome.
I think that the large majority of Freepers, and even conservatives in general, (who knows, maybe even a Liberal or two!) would have a much more favorable view of our entire food chain if they understood how much thought, planning, and even tender loving care goes into producing our food.
All the way from the winter time when a farmer considers the most efficient way to use the (then) bare ground to the time it lands on the store shelf everyone is using the system our Founding Fathers decided on, the capitalistic system of self interest.
From that we have the largest selection of foods at the lowest prices the world has ever seen.
We even have natural foods for those who want them and have the money to buy them, though having seen both types of food production, I prefer the other kind, the unnatural foods.
There will be dozens of solutions to chose from.
Excellent reply. Thanks for taking the time to put in all the details.