New weed fighting herbicide-tolerant GMO trait approved

| | September 19, 2014

The Agriculture Department has approved the commercial planting of corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive being sprayed by the herbicide known as 2,4-D.

Some corn and soybean growers have been pushing for approval, saying the new crops would give them a sorely needed new tool to fight rapidly spreading weeds that can no longer be killed by Roundup, known generically as glyphosate, the usual herbicide of choice.

But critics say that cultivation of the crops, which were developed by Dow AgroSciences, will mean a sharp increase in the spraying of 2,4-D, a chemical they say would be more damaging to the environment, nearby non-engineered crops and possibly human health, than Roundup.

Crops resistant to glyphosate, known as Roundup Ready crops, now account for the vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in the United States. That is because they make it easy for farmers to control weeds. Farmers simply spray glyphosate on their fields, killing the weeds while leaving the genetically engineered crops intact.

But it was so easy that farmers ended up relying too heavily on glyphosate, allowing many types of weeds to develop resistance. Weeds that can no longer easily be killed by glyphosate now infest about 70 million acres of American farmland, double the area in 2009, according to Dow.

Farmers have had to resort to using different chemicals, or higher doses of glyphosate, or to tilling their fields, which can increase soil erosion. Some farmers have had to go back to pulling weeds by hand.

Read the full, original article: Altered to withstand herbicide, corn and soybeans gain approval

  • JoeFarmer

    Since the anti-GMO bunch is retreating further and further into conspiracyland, this will just be proof to them that “Monsanto owns the Government! ZOMG! Agent Orange!” Even though this is a Dow product…

  • the fact of the matter is that anti-GMO organic activists tried coming up with natural alternatives to synthetic herbicides so they could practice min-till or zero-till farming, and reduce fuel consumption drastically. But they failed, and organic farmers use far more fuel per-acre and per-bushel of food produced.

    • Warren Lauzon

      And there have been rumors (obscure blog posts mostly) lately of some organic farmers calling for a relaxation of the rules on pesticides used and still be called “organic”.

      • It wouldn’t surprise me Warren.

        Ironically, Roundup used to be allowed for limited use in organic production. Of course, that was back in the good-old days when organic farmers still ran the organic industry. Now it’s been taken over by urban activists who don’t know anything about farming.

        • Warren Lauzon

          I noticed on the Hawaii discussions that the urban activists are starting to make a lot of the real farmers mad and losing what little support they had.

          • Yes, but just as was the case in Vermont and Oregon. it’s urban voters who will decide what farmers will be forced to do.

  • Brent BT

    When this sort of story hits the press I count on plenty of CBA (Confirmation Bias Accelerant) to be generated and pushed onto anti-whatever sites to fuel the fires. Expect everyone to lambast “Monsanto” even though these are Dow’s products.

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