Superweeds have become a significant problem for farmers in recent years. The invasive weeds can reportedly grow up to 10 feet tall at an inch-a-day rate. Asian carp and pigweed are the two most common forms of superweeds impacting farmers across the United States. Superweeds take nutrients, rain, and sunlight away from other plants and crops and can cause significant annual yield decreases.
A Sherif Sherif research team has revealed that a self-pollinating peach tree could be the light at the end of the tunnel for farmers and growers worried about future growth of superweeds. Organic farmers and Americans concerned about the possible dangers associated with genetically modified crops (GMOs) and chemical herbicides largely disagree.
Superweeds invaded corn and soybean fields in the Midwest and cotton fields in the southern United States for the past several years. The Palmer amaranth pigweed is reportedly one of the fastest growing and most invasive of the superweeds farmers face today. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, some agriculture experts believe the massive weeds will become more prevalent in fields around the globe in coming years.
“They’re winning the fight, they’re winning the battle,” University of Illinois crop science professor Aaron Hager said. “They’re evolving faster, better to survive in the environment than we’re coming up with solutions, at least chemical solutions, to control them.”
The scientific researchers at Sherif Sherif also reportedly feel that if the self-pollinating gene was inserted into genetically engineered crops, it could curtail cross-contamination fears often posed by organic farmers or growers located near a farm which utilized GMO seeds and chemical herbicides.
“The major concern in biotech right now is gene flow, which is transferring the gene of a transgenic (GM) plant into wild types or an organic farm,” the Sherif Sherif study said. “So in canola, for instance, there are herbicide-tolerant canola plants that are transgenic. The concern is that if this gene transfers to invasive weeds, this will result in superweeds that can’t be killed. This happened about eight years ago in Alberta when they found wild canola plants that are resistant to three types of herbicides.”
Superweeds have become such a constant and mounting concern for farmers, growers, and those concerned about the safety of the food supply that the topic was heavily debated at the American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition. The group is reportedly the largest science and industry society in the world. Some agriculture professionals note that the costs associated with battling weeds has doubled, and in some instances tripled, in recent years. During that same time span, crop yields have allegedly experienced significant declines.
What do you think about the self-pollinating peach tree, superweeds, and GMO crops?
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