|Alternatives to weed-resistant seeds offered by scientists|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:24|
The Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Washington, has provided a press release regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture release of its draft environmental impact statement of experimental corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered by Dow Agrosciences to tolerate application of the weed killer 2, 4-D and other herbicides.
Dow has put these new seeds forward for regulatory approval because of the spread of weeds that have grown resistant to another herbicide - Monsanto's Roundup.
According to UCS release, "The problem of these so-called 'superweeds' - which already plague over 60 million acres and are a huge and costly challenge for farmers across the country - is detailed in a Union of Concerned Scientists policy brief, at http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/the-rise-of-superweeds.html. USDA approval of additional herbicide-tolerant crops would only make the problem worse, as the UCS brief explains."
Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist in UCS' Food and Environment Program and co-author of the brief says, "As many weed scientists have noted, approval of these crops will only exacerbate resistant weed problems, as overuse of the associated herbicides will lead to a new round of resistant weeds.
"Some will be likely become resistant to all of the most effective remaining herbicides. And because there are no new herbicides in the development pipeline, farmers could soon have no good chemical options for weed control.
"So approval of these crops will only throw fuel on the fire. Fortunately, sustainable answers are available.
"Growing crops using ecological methods, such as cover crops, longer crop rotations, mulches and judicious tillage and herbicide use can control these weeds and provide high productivity, profit and environmental benefits."
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