Thursday, October 13, 2016

SUPERWEEDS - Growing Epidemic of Croplands

"Superweeds" spawned by genetic engineering threatens plantations of corn, soybeans, cotton in the US and in many parts of the world where GMO crops that are claimed to be herbicide tolerant (HT) are openly grown.
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday (

The controversial idea of developing resistance against weeds and other pests through gene splicing, as in the cases of HT soybean,  Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn et al, appears to have reached a disastrous end.  

In nature, all organisms undergo  biological specialization which is an adaptive mechanism in adjusting to the changing conditions of the environment, thus inarguably the most important tool in evolutionary success. No man-induced resistance will ever overtake this process that ends up into Nature's own way at attaining homeostasis or dynamic balance. Thus HT soybean, Bt Corn, thought to be caterpillar-resistant, and their kind are losing the race. This holds true to all GMOs - plants, animals, fungi, protists and monerans (microorganisms). The worst consequences have yet to come.  Already more and more people have developed fear in eating GMO products. The ultimately destruction comes in the form of permanent pollution of natural gene pools (genetic pollution) - a living bomb that impairs the natural order of the living world. 

US 'superweeds' epidemic implicates GMOs

A demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in front of the White House in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)2014-01-13 09:59

A demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in front of the White House in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)

New York - The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMOs, an accusation rejected by industry g
According to a recent study, the situation is such that American farmers are "heading for a crisis".Many scientists blame overuse of herbicides, prompted by seeds genetically modified to resist them.

"In parts of the country, weeds resistant to the world's most popular herbicide, glyphosate, now grow in the vast majority of soybean, cotton, and corn fields," many of which were planted with seeds resistant to the weedkiller, said the study published in the journal Science in September.

Happy pigweed and lambsquarters (common weeds in the US) enjoying themselves in a soybean field.

Superweeds are not a new consequence of genetically modified crops. A recent article in the New York Times reports that the first glyphosate resistant weed was found in 2000 in a Delaware soybean field. In the past 10 years 10 more resistant species have been discovered in 22 states, mostly in corn, soy and cotton fields.

Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers' near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller 
glyphosate has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.

Where have all the claimed advantage of Herbicide Tolerant Crops

(ISAAA - International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications)
    • Excellent weed control and hence higher crop yields;
    • Flexibility – possible to control weeds later in the plant’s growth;
    • Reduced numbers of sprays in a season;
    • Reduced fuel use (because of less spraying);
    • Reduced soil compaction (because of less need to go on the land to spray);
    • Use of low toxicity compounds which do not remain active in the soil; and
    • The ability to use no-till or conservation-till systems, with consequent benefits to soil structure and organisms (Felsot, 2000).
    These advantages are based on a  study conducted by the American Soybean Association (ASA) on tillage frequency on soybean farms showed that significant numbers of farmers adopted the “no-tillage” or “reduced tillage” practice after planting herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties.  This simple weed management approach saved over 234 million gallons of fuel and left 247 million tons of irreplaceable topsoil undisturbed. (This is short-term advantage and area specific.) 

    Superweeds Danger Zone based on the Current Status of Herbicide Tolerance

    From 1996 to 2011, herbicide- tolerant crops consistently occupied the largest planting area of biotech crops. In 2011 alone, herbicide tolerant crops occupied 93.3 million hectares or 59% of the 160 million hectares of biotech crops planted globally. The most common are the glyphosate and glufosinate tolerant varieties. The following table shows countries that have approved major HT crops for food use.
    Superweed epidemic negates a literature review conducted by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology concluded that the environment benefits from the use of HT crops. In the US, for example, no-till soybean acreage has increased by 35% since the introduction of HT soybean. A similar trend is observed in Argentina where soybean fields are 98% planted with HT varieties. 
    Worldwide susceptibility to SUPERWEEDS
    AlfalfaAustralia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, United States of America (USA)
    Argentine Canola
    Australia; Canada; Chile, China; European Union (EU); Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; South Africa; USA
    Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Singapore; South Africa; USA
    Flax, LinseedCanada; USA
    Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; El Salvador; EU; Honduras; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; South Africa; Spain; Taiwan; Thailand; USA; Uruguay
    Australia; Canada; Colombia; Mexico; New Zealand; Russian Federation; USA
    Argentina; Australia; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Czech Republic; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Paraguay; Philippines; Russian Federation; South Africa; Switzerland; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; USA; Uruguay
    SugarbeetAustralia; Canada; Colombia; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; USA
    WheatColombia; USA
    Source: ISAAA's GM Approval Database.
      Acknowledgement: Philippine Daily Inquirer, The World, January 14, 2014, Internet, Wikipedia, Scientific American, Time, USDA, ISAAA    

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