Farmers Warned To Be On Lookout For ‘Superweeds’

Illinois farmers are being warned by agriculture experts to be on the lookout for “superweeds.” These quickly and tall-growing weeds have become resistant to popular chemical herbicides, like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready. Although the warned has been issued specifically to Illinois growers, farmers across the country are facing similar problems.

More than one dozen different superweed or glyphosate weed varieties have become resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in top-selling garden and farm herbicides. University of Illinois scientist Aaron Hager believes that farmers must remain vigilant if attempts to keep the superweeds at bay are to be successful.

An excerpt from a Rockford Register Star report about the superweeds problem in Illinois reads:

“[Included in the warning are] Two species from the pigweed family, which are particularly worrisome to Illinois corn and soybean farmers. The Palmer amaranth and common waterhemp are prolific. Some varieties can grow to be seven feet tall and produce 1 million seeds. The Palmer amaranth has been documented in northern Illinois’ Grundy County and can lead to huge corn and soybean losses.”

The use of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready has already reportedly prompted the creation of “super weeds.” The chemical herbicide resistant weeds are rapidly taking over growing areas and may pose health risks to grazing livestock. Charles Benbrook, research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, authored the study, which examined the first 16 years of GMO crops. It was published in the Environmental Sciences Europe.

Genetic modification increases the need for pesticide use, according to a new study. One of the primary marketing ploys often utilized when promoting GMO seeds is that significantly less chemical pesticides are required during the non-organic growing process. Herbicide resistant (HR) crop technology has led to a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use across the board during the planting of the top three genetically modified crops in the United States, according to the study.

Excerpt from the study about glyphosate resistant weeds:

“Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, but over-reliance led to shifts in weed communities and the emergence of resistant weeds that have, together, forced farmers to incrementally: increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate); spray more often, and; add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode-of-action into their spray programs.”

Dow Chemical scientist John Jachetta does not appear alarmed about the growth or super weeds. Quite to the contrary, Jachetta described the issue as a “very significant opportunity” for biotech giants like Dow, Monsanto, and DuPont, according to the Center for Food Safety. While the “new era” in agriculture may offer yet another way for Dow Chemical and its peers to deepen their pockets, American consumers may be paying the bill with their health.

Roundup Ready once got the job done for folks who were willing to kill weeds with chemicals, but now the product appears too weak to accomplish the task. Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D must be stronger to combat the super weeds. Once the Agent Orange linked product can no longer kill weeds and “protect” GMO corn and soybeans, yet another even more stringent will need to be cooked up in a biotech lab.

The Center for Food Safety and similar agriculture, organic, and environmental activists feel that Dow Chemicals 2,4-D is just the next big leap in the chemical arms race in the United States. The USDA is currently entertaining public comment about Dow Chemical’s Agent Orange 2,4-D. The food safety group is circulating petition advocating against approval of the chemical herbicide which contains the active ingredient form the Vietnam War era Agent Orange recipe.

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