They promised genetically engineered crops would make it possible for America’s farmers to use fewer pesticides like the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup).
But according to statistics mined from the National Agriculture Statistics Service, the use of glyphosate increased 6,504% between 1991 and 2010.
In fact, farmers sprayed so much glyphosate weeds they were trying to kill developed resistance and became superweeds.
To combat superweeds, the Monsanto company re-engineered its patented glyphosate-resistant crops to also resist the herbicide dicamba. The problem with dicamba is that it has a tendancy to drift from where it was applied. Following is a label description for a brand of dicamba:
“BANVEL may cause injury to desirable trees and plants, particularly beans, cotton, flowers, fruit trees, grapes, ornamentals, peas, potatoes, soybeans, sunflowers, tobacco, tomatoes, and other broadleaf plants when contacting their roots, stems or foliage.”
To combat the drift problem, Monsanto developed a new formulation of dicamba it claims will stick to where it is sprayed. However, this new formulation has not been approved for use by the EPA.
The EPA’s approval notwithstanding, Monsanto sold its glyphosate/dicamba resistant seeds. Farmers bought the seeds, planted them, and then sprayed their croplands with the older, non-sticking formulations of dicamba to kill their superweeds.
But like a deadly plague in a B movie, clouds of dicamba lifted up from where they sprayed to kill crops across hundreds of thousands of acres in ten states. And so we ask...
Who is responsible for the dicamba drift: Monsanto or Farmers?
Food Chain Radio & Forums #1,072 (Tags: Steve Smith, Save Our Crops, pesticides, herbicides, weeds, superweeds, pesticide resistance, glyphosate, dicamba, Monsanto)