Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monsanto's superweeds . . .

The corn rootworm.  Photo: Jimmy Smith

"THE BUGS THAT ATE MONSANTO", by Tom Laskawy, at GRIST, is worth checking out. Monsanto's been one of the majors in bringing genetically-modified crops to market, and they've pissed off legions of farmers on both sides of the border. It's been high-tide-and-green-grass for Monsanto, but it seems there's problems . . .

Now that 94 percent of the soy and 70 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, Monsanto -- one of the companies that dominates the GMO seed market -- might look to some like it's winning. But if we look a little closer, I'd say they're holding on by a thread.

Their current success is due in large part to brilliant marketing. The company's approach was both compelling -- their products were sold as the key to making large-scale farming far simpler and more predictable -- and aggressive: Monsanto made it virtually impossible for most farmers to find conventional seeds for sale in most parts of the country.

• • •

Over the last several years, so-called "superweeds" have grown resistant to the herbicide RoundUp, the companion product that's made Monsanto's herbicide-tolerant (aka RoundUp-Ready) corn, soy, and alfalfa so popular. Those crops were supposed to be the only plants that could withstand being sprayed by the chemical. Oops.

The superweed problem is so bad that farmers in some parts of the country are abandoning thousands of acres because the weeds are so out of control, or dousing the crops with ever more toxic (and expensive) combinations of other herbicides. Thankfully, it's an issue that's getting more and more media attention.

And now Monsanto's other flagship product line, the pesticide-producing "Bt crops," named for the pesticide they are genetically modified to emit, is in trouble.

Go visit to find out more. The site has all sorts of interesting things.


Real science said...

Not true - Monsanto and others have multiple different insect resistances that will and do kill these insects and also have multiple herbicides

Edstock said...

Gee — then there's no problem, except for the thousands of acres they can't farm because of that infestation, lol!

Brooks said...

Tony must work for Monsanto! And I'd take the word of the farmers who are battling to save their farms over the word of anyone with any sort of loyalty to the most evil company on the face of the earth! Who else would try to patent what has been free since the very first caveman planted a seed?!?