an exposť from high profile media. Genetically manipulated
(GM) crops are not only keeping us on the pesticide treadmill - they
are accelerating it!!
much for the agricultural biotech industry PR line that GM crops would
reduce the use of pesticides.)
laurel hopwood, sierra club genetic engineering action team
Wall Street Journal
June 4, 2010
By Scott Kilman
Superweed outbreak triggers arms race
Hardy superweeds immune to the Farm Belt's most effective weedkiller
are invading fields, prompting a counterattack from agribusiness that
could leave farmers using greater amounts of harsh old-line
The flagging weedkiller is Monsanto's Roundup, used on GM corn,
soybean and cotton plants.
Dow, DuPont, Bayer, BASF, and Syngenta are spending
hundreds of millions of dollars to develop GM soybean, corn and cotton
plants that can survive a dousing by their herbicides, many decades
Some of the old pesticides-in particular, those called 2,4-D and
dicamba-have a history of posing more risks for the environment than
the chemical in Roundup. That's partly because they have more of
a tendency to drift on the wind onto neighboring farms or wild
vegetation. Roundup tends to adhere better to the ground.
Ron Holthouse grows GM cotton and soybeans, but after 10 years of use
on his land, Roundup no longer controls pigweed, which ran rampant in
his fields last year. The weed, which can grow six feet high on
a stalk like a baseball bat, is tough enough to damage delicate parts
of his cotton-picking equipment. For the first time in years, Mr.
Holthouse used an older, highly poisonous weedkiller called
Chemical companies are tight-lipped about their development of crops
that can tolerate the spraying of herbicides other than Roundup.
Dow manufactures 2,4-D, a powerful herbicide. Within the
next few years, Dow hopes to sell seeds for corn, soybeans and cotton
that will be unaffected if farmers spray 2,4-D on their fields.
Some winery owners are concerned that such efforts will renew farmer
demand for 2,4-D, to which grapes are highly sensitive if the
herbicide drifts from a farm sprayer onto vines. "A
neighbor could take me out in one night." said winery owner Neal
The Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the EPA in 2008 to
ban 2,4-D, citing research that suggests it disrupts hormones in
trout, rodents and sheep.
Monsanto is developing a dicamba-tolerant soybean.
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