Market shift to non-GMO sugar loss for environment

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

. . . Dan Charles says that US sugarbeet farmers “are thinking about going back to growing non-GMO beets.” This may seem like a trivial change to people not actively engaged in the sugarbeet industry. But for a sugarbeet farmer to even consider this is nothing less than remarkable.

. . . .

Sugarbeet growers are not exaggerating when they talk about the drastic shift they observed in the switch to GMO seed. The herbicide regimen used to include 4 to 6 different herbicides applied between 3 to 6 times per year, at 5 to 10 day intervals.

. . . . Compare that to the Roundup Ready (GMO) system, where 2 or 3 applications of glyphosate have replaced the many herbicide sprays that were used previously, while providing better weed control.

. . . .

The improved weed control provided by Roundup Ready varieties led to rapid environmental gains. By 2009, only two years after widespread adoption of GMO sugarbeet, over 50,000 acres of sugarbeet fields were converted to some form of reduced or conservation tillage . . . . Conservation tillage practices improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, and preserve soil moisture. . . .

The combination of improved tillage, reduced crop injury, and improved weed control has contributed significantly to increased sugarbeet yields . . . .

. . . .

[Sugarbeet grower, Andrew Beyer] isn’t being facetious when he says he thinks GMO sugarbeets are better for the environment, the world, and the consumer. He truly believes it, as do most sugarbeet farmers in the US. And the data suggests they’re right.

But these same farmers are willing to grow what the customer wants. . . . Even if it means abandoning all the benefits this technology has provided.

Read full, original post: As consumers shift to non-GMO sugar, farmers may be forced to abandon environmental and social gains

  • Good4U

    The anti-technology ranters have shot themselves in the foot (once again). As the article states, they are forcing sugarbeet growers to revert to using more and more herbicides to control their weed populations, such as kochia and other quick seeding species that glyphosate currently controls very well.

    To all you anti-GMO boobs out there in blogland: Get up out of your easy chairs, go stand in a beet field in North Dakota or Minnesota and take a look around at the sea of weeds. Then stoop over and pull those weeds for a day or two. You won’t have the strength left to flail your keyboards at the end of the day. Your misinformed screaming has contributed nothing but human misery and environmental degradation in the form of promoting sugarcane agriculture in tropical countries where barefoot, uneducated boys work in the cane fields essentially as slaves. You anti-GMO fools are bad for the planet. Go away.