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Page added on February 20, 2013

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U.S. farmers may stop planting GMOs after horrific crop yields

Enviroment

Some farmers across the United States may stop planting genetically modified crops after poor yields are increasing costs beyond what they can absorb.

According to Farmers Weekly, those farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures have meant smaller GM crop yields over non-GM counterparts.

Farmers in the U.S. pay about $100 more per acre for GM seed. Many have begun questioning “whether they will continue to see benefits from using GMs,” the farmer’s publication reported.

“It’s all about cost benefit analysis,” economist Dan Basse, president of AgResource, an American agricultural research firm, said.

“Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago,” he told the Weekly. “They’re starting to wonder why they’re spending extra money on the technology.”

A problem that is becoming more widespread

The publication said one of the biggest problems U.S. farmers have experienced with GM seed is resistance. When GM seeds were first introduced, biotech engineers said it would be 40 years before resistance would develop; but pests such as corn rootworm have instead developed a resistance to GM crops in as few as 14 years.

“Some of these bugs will eat the plant and it will make them sick, but not kill them. It starts off in pockets of the country but then becomes more widespread,” Basse said.

“We’re looking at going back to cultivation to control it. I now use insecticides again,” he said.

If farmers don’t move back towards non-GMOs, the availability of seed will become an issue, he said, noting that some 87 percent of U.S. farmers currently plant genetically modified seed.

Countries around the world that do not use GM seed are outperforming U.S. farmers. The largest crop yields last year were in Asia, and China in particular, where farmers don’t plant GM seed.

For years, there has been concern that GM seeds would develop resistance to pesticides and weed killers, though some of the largest biotech firms that push such seeds – like Monsanto – have consistently denied or downplayed such concerns.

Scott McAllister, a third-generation farmer in Iowa, told The Huffington Post in October he was leery of Monsanto’s claims when a seed peddler came to see him last fall.

“Down the road, are we going to experience resistance in weeds with the continued use of Roundup?” McAllister said he recalls asking the salesman.

“Oh no, that’ll never happen,” he was told.

Sure it won’t…

Monsanto’s combination of GM seed and Roundup herbicide was supposed to help crops thrive, not weeds and bugs. But 15 years later, when most corn, soybeans and cotton cultivated in the U.S. comes from Roundup Ready seed, an increasing number of these crops are falling prey to “superweeds” that have become resistant to the GM seeds and herbicide that was supposed to kill them forever.

From HuffPo:

Repeated application of the herbicide has literally weeded out the weak weeds and given the rare resistant weeds the opportunity to take over. The situation, according to a report published…in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, has driven growers to use larger quantities of Roundup, more often and in conjunction with a broader arsenal of other weed-killing chemicals.

“It’s been a slowly unfolding train wreck,” Charles Benbrook, author of the study and professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, said.

“Before biotech came on the market, we had one airplane in the county to do all the aerial spraying,” McAllister told the online newspaper. “Now they bring in seven or eight. We’ve got the same acreage of crops. They’re just spraying more.”

Natural News


15 Comments on "U.S. farmers may stop planting GMOs after horrific crop yields"

  1. Kenz300 on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 1:23 am 

    Sometimes the simple, sustainable options are better.

    Keep it simple stupid….. is a pretty good slogan.

  2. BillT on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 1:26 am 

    “A better world through technology” … BAH! All tech does is complicate what we already had and promote wars to sell their products. There has been no new tech in decades, just different paint on old ideas. The more technical something gets, the quicker and more likely it will break down. I hope the farmers all go back to regular seeds and crops and to crop rotation and sustainable farming before it’s too late.

  3. Plantagenet on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 1:35 am 

    The farmers will switch from insect resistant GMOs to drought resistant GMOs.

  4. rollin on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 1:38 am 

    I guess they should have read “Silent Spring”, it’s available in most libraries.

  5. Benny on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 4:19 am 

    One advice. Don’t mess with mother nature!

  6. DC on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 5:41 am 

    What ‘farmers’ is this article referring to? Of the corporate-industrial mono-cropping variety? The irony would is rich with this one. Massive corporate ‘farmers’ are re-considering not using massive corporate bio-techs products as they are too expensive and dont work worth $@it. This isnt about farmer Jo-Bob on his 40 acres, chewing on some straw thinking GM is bad, he hasnt existed for decades. No, this decision was probably made by accountants or management teams that work in 70 story high-rises and commute to them in 7000 pound SUV’s.

    In other news,some US corporate mono-croppers considering going to back earlier, slightly less destructive ways of producing fatty, greasy, psuedo-foods.

  7. baptised on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 8:13 pm 

    RoundUp is just a ionic solution a”salt”. So after a few years I was not surprised to see weeds/grasses that grow in brine water, thriving on my little slope in my yard. I live over 300 miles from any seawater-brine.Mother nature always trumps!

  8. GregT on Wed, 20th Feb 2013 8:53 pm 

    No matter how much we pretend that we are above nature, we never were and never will be. We are destined to failure until we finally figure this out. If we don’t, we are destined to extinction.

  9. Mother Nature on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 6:19 am 

    If the crops were natural, they would have built their own resistance against the weeds and other pests at the same level. Now, only the “fittest survive” of the weeds and pass on their DNA.

  10. FarmingForFreedom on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 6:26 am 

    Glad to see it. It is our heart’s desire to see a return to traditional, natural agriculture.

  11. Gaia Little on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 8:29 pm 

    G.M.O’s will be in the past SOON!!! FARMERS UNITE!!!

  12. Roberta Pennington on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 9:59 pm 

    We should never chase money and mass productivity. It has a hefty price! Glad
    To see the farmers come to their senses but,
    You’ve already poisoned many, cause miscarriages, made a few get diabetes, hypertension, immune disorders Etc.,
    all because you believed a man! And an evil one
    At that, Monsanto. The extensive effects of GMO may never be known but have a good look around at your loved ones who have cancer
    . While you’re at it test your toxic round up ready soil! As you go forward to return to planting good food you will find it toxic from all your round up ready junk you sprayed for the last 14 plus years.

  13. David Miller - A small, family farmer in Iowa on Fri, 22nd Feb 2013 10:37 pm 

    This article is so biased and agenda filled. I can assure you that there is no movement in Iowa away from the use of technology in agriculture. I use GMO seed because it allows me to minimize the tillage on my land thus minimizing the negative, erosive effects of torrential rains that are common here. I use GMO seeds so that I can grow crops that have better grain quality with less insect damage and weed pressure. I use GMO seed because it allows better land stewardship. And yes, I use GMO seeds because they make my farm more profitable. If and when the use of GMO seeds makes my farm less profitable than the alternatives, I will quit using them. But that has not been the case for the past 15+ years and is not likely to be the case over the next few decades.

  14. Niels Christensen on Fri, 22nd Feb 2013 10:48 pm 

    Great that the farmers are going back to natural crops. The Roundup Ready and BT GMO crops have caused severe health problems for the animals eating them. Roundup Ready crops are low in many different minerals causing the animals to suffer from lack of minerals. The BT crops are toxic and cause severe fertility problems. I look forward to the day when all crops are natural.

  15. Benjamin Smith on Mon, 25th Feb 2013 5:00 am 

    LOL BillT who says:

    ““A better world through technology” … BAH! All tech does is complicate what we already had and promote wars to sell their products. There has been no new tech in decades, just different paint on old ideas.”

    … as he sits at his hyperfast computer hooked up to broadband Internet, fattened on a dinner made to his exact specifications….

    We’ve been genetically modifying animals and plants for thousands of years. Take a look at the original “corn” seed, and compare to today’s sweet corn. A corn cob was originally about an inch long! Similar the banana – originally a gross, green thing about the size of your thumb that was usually boiled and reviled as nasty by the USA founding generations.

    The difference is that Monsanto is modifying the genes directly rather than using natural selection. What’s interesting to me is just how quickly natual selection works in the face of extreme selection bias: in this case, the bugs and pests almost faced extinction (implied by 93% of US crops using the Monsanto GMO seed) but there was enough genetic diversity and selection advantage to neutralize Monsanto’s genetic 1-2 punch in less than two decades!

    There is no improvement that comes without cost. The rise of caries (tooth decay) is a recent event that started with the agricultural revolution. Even though agriculture dramatically improves our general health, it has its costs, too.

    Personally, I’d be glad if we went back to a more diverse agricultural seed base if only for the greater resilience it affords…