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 Meet the Weeds That Monsanto Can't Beat

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Posts : 7988
Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Manchester UK

PostSubject: Meet the Weeds That Monsanto Can't Beat   Fri 28 Dec 2012, 18:03

Meet the Weeds That Monsanto Can't Beat

"Integrated pest management" in action. USDA Photo by Charles O'Rear/Wikimedia CommonsWhen Monsanto revolutionized agriculture with a line of genetically engineered seeds, the promise was that the technology would lower herbicide use—because farmers would have to spray less. In fact, as Washington State University researcher Chuch Benbrook has shown, just the opposite happened.
years on, Roundup (Monsanto's tradename for its glyphosate herbicide)
has certainly killed lots of weeds. But the ones it has left standing
are about as resistant to herbicide as the company's Roundup Ready
crops, which are designed to survive repeated applications of the
agribusiness giant's own Roundup herbicide.
For just one example,
turn to Mississippi, where cotton, corn, and soy farmers have been using
Roundup Ready seeds for years—and are now struggling to contain a new
generation of super weeds, including a scourge of Italian ryegrass.
"Fight resistant weeds with fall, spring attack," declares a headline in Delta Farm Press,
a farming trade magazine serving the Mississippi River Delta. The
article's author, a Mississippi State University employee, lays out the

In 2005, Italian ryegrass resistant to the commonly used herbicide
glyphosate was first identified in the state. Since then, it has been
found in 31 Mississippi counties and is widespread throughout the Delta.
This glyphosate-resistant weed emerges in the fall and grows throughout
winter and early spring.
The solution: "fall residual herbicide treatments followed by spring
burn-down applications, where a nonselective herbicide is applied to
fields before planting." Translation: to combat the plague of resistant
Italian ryegrass, Mississippi's cotton farmers must hit their fields
with a "residual" herbicide in the fall—meaning one that hangs around in
soil long enough to kill ryegrass for a while—and then come back with
yet another herbicide in the spring, to make sure the job has been done.
multi-poison approach to weed control, apparently, is what passes for
"integrated pest management"—purportedly a system of low-pesticide crop
protection—these days.

“The integrated pest management program we recommend uses fall
residual herbicides to help reduce the overall population and numbers,”
[Mississippi State University extension professor Tom] Eubank said.
“Fall tillage can also reduce weed numbers, but it is generally not as
effective as residual herbicides. Producers should come back in the
spring or late winter with an alternative herbicide program that attacks
the plant using a different mode of action.”
In lieu of crop rotation and biodiversity, the non-toxic way to
control weeds, the MSU extension service promotes what the article calls
a "diversified herbicide program." And thus we get a clear look at why,
since the introduction of Roundup Ready seeds in the 1990s, herbicide use has spiked.

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