September 29, 2017

Farmers being hit by crop damage due to near by genetically engineered crops

Alternet  -  Over 2,200 farmers growing soybeans, tomatoes, melons, grapes and other crops across 20 states have reported crop damage on more than three million acres, slashing harvests by a third or more. Losses are estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. 

What’s responsible for this devastation? The agricultural community points to Monsanto’s introduction of cotton and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand dicamba, an old herbicide long notorious for its propensity to drift and damage nearby crops. These new GMOs have led to dramatically increased dicamba use and associated crop damage.

Many farmers have embraced dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton because they see no alternative for controlling yield-robbing weeds that have evolved resistance to glyphosate (i.e. Roundup) and other herbicides. These resistant weeds infest over 60 million acres of U.S. cropland thanks to massive use of glyphosate on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMOs, which are genetically engineered to survive direct application of the herbicide.

...However, the problems extend well beyond dicamba. The pesticide-seed industry is developing scores of GMOs resistant to other (and multiple) herbicides, long its top R&D priority. By shifting herbicide use from planting time to later in the season—when neighboring crops have leafed out and are more susceptible to injury—herbicide-resistant crop systems pose a greater risk of crop damage than early season use of the same weed-killers with traditional crops. This helps explain why glyphosate became a leading cause of drift injury only in the Roundup Ready crop era.

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