Glyphosate-cancer lawsuits spur farmers to embrace ‘precision farming’ to help reduce chemical inputs

precision farming

American juries are well known for the generosity of their awards in civil cases …. So Bayer, a German chemicals giant, told shareholders not to worry when a Californian jury in August ruled that Monsanto, an American firm it bought two months before, had to pay $289m to Dewayne Johnson, a former school caretaker. Mr Johnson alleged that Roundup, a glyphosate-based weedkiller, had caused his terminal cancer. The jury made a judgment based on “junk science”, Monsanto said. It would surely be overturned on appeal.

Last month a judge reaffirmed the verdict; the damages were trimmed, but to a still-hefty $78.5m. With Bayer’s admission on November 13th that the number of similar lawsuits had reached 9,300, it is clear that the bill for compensation could reach tens of billions of dollars.

Related article:  Mass General pediatrics chief says glyphosate, used with some GM crops, no danger in breast milk

Farmers in turn are switching to “precision” methods, entailing more targeted use of chemicals or robots to do weeding. Bayer executives fear this shift could hit demand for its pesticides by as much as 20-30% over the next decade ….

Precision farming “will change how we think about farming,” says Sam Watson Jones of the Small Robot Company …. It is developing three small autonomous robots—called Tom, Dick and Harry—which will only feed and spray the specific plants that need it rather than dusting an entire field …. He claims that his company’s system will cut chemical use, and carbon emissions, by up to 95%.

Read full, original article: Upheaval in the chemicals industry

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend