New study shows that GM drives up pesticide use

The provisional text of the study GM and pesticide use in the US published in Environmental Sciences Europe can be found here.

The following is from an article by Mother Jones published in The Guardian (Oct 3 2012):

“On its website, the GMO-seed-and-agrichemical giant Monsanto makes the green case for its its Roundup Ready crops, engineered to withstand the company’s own blockbuster herbicide, Roundup:

Roundup agricultural herbicides and other products are used to sustainably an [sic] effectively control weeds on the farm. Their use on Roundup Ready crops has allowed farmers to conserve fuel, reduce tillage and decrease the overall use of herbicides. [Emphasis added.]

The article goes on to describe the findings of a study in Environmental Sciences Europe, by Professor Chuck Benbrook, from Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Benbrook “found that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology, which dominates corn, soy, and cotton farming, has called forth a veritable monsoon of herbicides, both in terms of higher application rates for Roundup, and, in recent years, growing use of other, more-toxic herbicides

“. . .Overall, GMO technology drove up herbicide use by 527 million pounds, or about 11 percent, between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops first hit farm fields) and 2011. But it gets worse. For several years, the Roundup Ready trait actually did meet Monsanto’s promise of decreasing overall herbicide use—herbicide use dropped by about 2 percent between 1996 and 1999, Benbrook told me in an interview. But then weeds started to develop resistance to Roundup, pushing farmers to apply higher per-acre rates. In 2002, farmers using Roundup Ready soybeans jacked up their Roundup application rates by 21 percent, triggering a 19 million overall increase in Roundup use.

“Since then, an herbicide gusher has been uncorked. Between 2009 and 2010 alone, herbicide use jumped 24 percent, Benbrook told me. What happened? By that time, “in all three crops [corn, soy, and cotton], resistant weeds had fully kicked in,” Benbrook said, and farmers were responding both by ramping up use of Roundup and resorting to older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D.”

Benbrook goes on to talk about the effects of using S,4-D — all very nasty and alarming.

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One Response to New study shows that GM drives up pesticide use

  1. Pingback: The Oxford Real Farming Conference 2013 | The Campaign for Real Farming

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