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The Rise of Superweeds…

December 22, 2012

Here’s a snippet and link to an article from the Guardian about how modern agricultural herbicides are effectively acting as a eugenics program for unwanted plants, killing off weak “weeds”, selecting for the strong and leaving farmers’ fields with round-up ready food crops competing against a new generation of unintended round-up ready superweeds.

(From the Guardian) When Monsanto revolutionised agriculture with a line of genetically engineered seeds, the promise was that the technology would lower herbicide use – because farmers would have to spray less. In fact, as Washington State University researcher Chuch Benbrook has shown, just the opposite happened.

Sixteen years on, Roundup (Monsanto’s tradename for its glyphosate herbicide) has certainly killed lots of weeds. But the ones it has left standing are about as resistant to herbicide as the company’s Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to survive repeated applications of the agribusiness giant’s own Roundup herbicide.

For just one example, turn to Mississippi, where cotton, corn, and soy farmers have been using Roundup Ready seeds for years – and are now struggling to contain a new generation of super weeds, including a scourge of Italian ryegrass.

Click here for the original article at The Guardian. 

A few previous articles I’ve posted on Superweeds.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2012 10:08:19 pm

    Can anyone else out there here a massive great ironic “TOUCHE!” from the weed quarter? ;). Our only hope is to learn to like the taste of weeds! ;). Seriously though…I have been doing a lot of research about “weeds” and most of them have edible and medicinal qualities that change them from being pest species (aside from in large monocropped conditions of course…) to something actually desirable. It’s a curious thing how changing how you look at something suddenly reduces it’s “problem” quotient. I started feeding dandelion leaves to my two Javanese finches and my dandelion problem disappeared… once you start being aware of how useful your weeds actually are, you will find that there are never enough of them! I was attempting to make a fermented dandelion soda recipe that I found online and do you think that I can source 5lb of dandelion flowers for the life of me?! I saw someone’s paddock full of them and with my newfound weed infused brain I tried to get Steve to stop the car so that I could both frolic AND harvest them…he wouldn’t let me :(. Something about trespassing and shotguns or the like…Have a wonderful Christmas (if you indeed celebrate it) and here’s looking forward to an interesting and well informed New Year thanks to your blog posts 🙂

  2. December 27, 2012 10:08:42 am

    Nice – here in Burundi, such products as Round-up are only now penetrating the largely subsistence-oriented agriculture. So bad times to come, here…

  3. January 20, 2013 10:08:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Science on the Land.

  4. January 21, 2013 10:08:13 pm

    Surprise! Selective breeding still works! Across the political spectrum, the naysayers are quietly snickering “I told you so!”

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