weeds

Long-predicted GM crop' superweeds' have arrived

Thursday, May 24, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: superweeds, GMO, herbicides

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(NaturalNews) It has been nearly two decades since widespread plantings of genetically-modified (GM) crops in the U.S. first began, and the prevalence of chemical-resistant "superweeds" has skyrocketed as a result. And according to a recent writeup by Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University (NYU), the industry's answer to the problem is actually the cause of it.

Having served on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Food Advisory Committee back when GMOs were first being proposed for use, Nestle is quite familiar with how "Frankencrops" were first weaseled into the agricultural mainstream. And in spite of the countless warnings presented back at that time about the potential emergence of superweeds, the FDA decided to allow GMO plantings.

Compared to rates in 1996, when there were virtually no GMOs being planted and used in the U.S., the percentage of GM staple crops being planted today has skyrocketed. According to the latest figures released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Economic Research Service, herbicide-tolerant (HT) GM soybeans, for instance, represent 94 percent of all soybeans currently planted in the U.S.

Corn and cotton are not much different, with GM corn representing 88 percent of all corn plantings in the U.S., and GM cotton representing 90 percent of all cotton plantings in the U.S. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/). And with these plantings have come the emergence of hundreds of different varieties of superweeds that now afflict millions of acres of U.S. crop land (http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/the-superweeds-are-coming).

"Weed resistance has spread to more than 12 million U.S. acres and primarily afflicts key agricultural areas in the U.S. Southeast and the corn and soybean growing areas of the Midwest," says Reuters. "Many of the worst weeds, some of which grow more than six feet and can sharply reduce crop yields, have become resistant to the popular glyphosate-based weed-killer Roundup, as well as other common herbicides."

Industry solution to superweeds is to use more chemicals

According to the biotechnology industry, one of the primary benefits of GMOs is that they supposedly require the use of far less chemicals compared to conventional crops, which saves farmers money and protects the environment. But now that superweeds have emerged, the industry's solution is to apply more chemicals, and multiple types of chemicals, to crops.

One of the latest manifestations of this is the industry's push for deregulation of 2,4-D, the highly toxic chemical component formerly used in "Agent Orange," the highly-toxic chemical defoliant used during the Vietnam War (http://www.naturalnews.com). 2,4-D, we are told, will solve the problem of superweeds, as will applying a diverse array of other chemicals in rotation.

But are not these chemicals the cause of superweeds in the first place? Why would farmers apply more resistance-causing chemicals, which will only lead to super-superweeds with unprecedented resistance (http://www.naturalnews.com/032777_superweeds_biotech.html)? In no uncertain terms, any proposal to use more chemicals rather than less will eventually lead to the complete demise of agriculture as we know it.

"The application of multiple herbicides would promote multiple herbicide resistant weeds, in the same way that the abundance [sic] use of multiple antibiotics has lead to multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria," writes Danielle Venton from The Goat Blog. "The medical field has reacted to this problem by escalating the number of antibiotics they use to treat infections. Seed/chemical companies are poised to do the same."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.theatlantic.com

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