About Us
Write for Us
Media Info
Advertising Info

Farmers now turning to 'Weed Terminator' robot to combat herbicide-resistant weeds caused by GMOs

Weed Terminator

(NaturalNews) The biotech industry has been under a lot of scrutiny recently for its part in causing the development of herbicide-resistant weeds, which are becoming a huge problem for farmers. This resistance, combined with the toxicity of herbicides, means that it is crucial that we find an alternative way to get rid of those pesky weeds – and that's where Ibex, a.k.a. "The Terminator," comes in.

Ibex is a new invention created in Britain by Dr. Charles Fox who hopes to revolutionize the way farmers control weeds, according to the Daily Mail. The machine is a rover-like robot that is able to identify individual weeds according to its settings and can navigate in a similar way to self-driving cars in order to reach the location of the weeds and spray herbicide in small patches.

On-board sensors identify encroaching weeds and destroy them one at a time using a robotic arm. This method is a lot more species-specific than broadcast spraying and causes less harm to the environment.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Dr. Fox said, "There is a lack of ways to tackle weeds in difficult to reach areas like hill farms, it's become too expensive to employ individuals to spray each area and spraying a whole field - grass and everything - is not good for the environment." The hope is that eventually Ibex will evolve to be able to kill weeds simply using a needle-like jab to the right spot on the weed – making it even less likely to interact with the wrong species.

Herbicide-resistant weeds

When genetically engineered (GE) seeds began to be used in farming across the US, Monsanto – a Big Agribusiness that produces both GE seeds and popular herbicide Roundup – created a big problem. Roundup contains the chemical glyphosate, which is extremely toxic to both humans and the environment. It is also categorized as a broad-spectrum herbicide, which means that it will destroy almost every plant it comes into contact with – except for specially modified GE plants.

There has always been concerns that the combination of GE plants and herbicide use would create a problem down the line. When herbicides such as Roundup and GE seeds were first used together, Big Agri promised that GE plants wouldn't be able to cross with weeds – so there would be no danger of herbicide resistance. When GE crop–weed hybrids first started to sprout up, Big Agri then promised that they wouldn't persist, as they were unstable and would die out after a couple of years.

According to GMWatch, scientists from Canada's Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food discovered that there is a persistence and apparent introgression – the "stable incorporation of genes from one gene pool into another" – with these hybrid plants. For example, GE canola plants have been found to interbreed with a weed, producing a hybrid called "wild mustard" that is resistant to the herbicide Roundup.

The problem with this is that farmers are now struggling to kill these herbicide-resistant weeds – and the numbers of these hybrid plants will only continue to rise with the ongoing use of GE seeds. Farmers are now having to turn to alternative methods such as the robotic weedkiller, in an attempt to be more specific with their herbicide application and take down particularly resistant weeds.

According to GMWatch, Terry Boehm, a Canadian farmer now speaking out against the adoption of GE crops in other nations, stated that "contamination takes place rapidly, there are many legal disputes over responsibility and ownership and we lost the European (export) market soon after GM canola was introduced to Canada."

"Canada is now a GM country," Boehm said.

Will Monsanto simply create a stronger herbicide to help combat these new herbicide-resistant weeds?

Sources include:




Receive Our Free Email Newsletter

Get independent news alerts on natural cures, food lab tests, cannabis medicine, science, robotics, drones, privacy and more.

More news on Weed Terminator

comments powered by Disqus
Most Viewed Articles

Natural News Wire (Sponsored Content)

Science News & Studies
Medicine News and Information
Food News & Studies
Health News & Studies
Herbs News & Information
Pollution News & Studies
Cancer News & Studies
Climate News & Studies
Survival News & Information
Gear News & Information
News covering technology, stocks, hackers, and more