Can a Humble Weed Take Down the Giant Monsanto?
I’m not sure whether to find this disturbing, funny or hopeful:
“‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands.”
Apparently a new “superweed” called Evil Pigweed has evolved to resist Monsanto’s Roundup.
“Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms. Farmers abandoned 10,000 acres in the heart of the superweed explosion, and other farmers report hand weeding their fields.
The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is not sounding quite so sweet in the land of the converted. A new pest, the evil pigweed, is hitting headlines and chomping its way across Sun Belt states, threatening to transform cotton and soybean plots into weed battlefields.
Cover crops might help suppress weeds in areas that haven’t been hit (or haven’t been hit hard yet) with this superweed. But Monsanto’s got other suggestions for the farmers:
Indeed, according to Monsanto press releases, company sales representatives are encouraging farmers to mix glyphosate and older herbicides such as 2,4-D, a herbicide which was banned in Sweden, Denmark and Norway over its links to cancer, reproductive harm and mental impairment. 2,4-D is also well-known for being a component of Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide which was used in chemical warfare in Vietnam in the 1960s.
Why do we consider these chemicals acceptable to use at all let alone on our food???
In 2007, 10,000 acres of land were abandoned in Macon country, Georgia, the epicentre of the superweed explosion. Superweeds have since alarmingly appeared in other parts of Georgia, as well as South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, according to media reports. Roundup contains the active ingredient glyphosate, which is the most used herbicide in the USA.
How has this happened? Farmers over-relied on Monsanto’s revolutionary and controversial combination of a single “round up” herbicide coupled with the fact that the aggressive pigweed seeds are now immune to the glyphosate in Roundup. (Lambsquarter seeds can lie dormant for 10 years and still sprout.)
“Farmers are taking this threat very seriously. It took us two years to make them understand how serious it was. But once they understood, they started taking a very aggressive approach to the weed.” “Just to illustrate how aggressive we are, last year we hand-weeded 45% of our severely infested fields,” and the fight involved “spending a lot of money.”
This might be the David who slays Goliath!