Pseudo-scientists on the attack about superweeds
Editor's note: The Union of Concerned Scientists are highly critical of conventional agriculture and multi-national agricultural companies. The group also likes to issue scare notices to the general public. The latest scare and condemnation of large-scale agriculture and the agricultural industry is below. The UCS likes to throw around words such as “superweeds” and “toxic herbicides.” The article is printed to provide our readers insight into what the negative, anti-conventional farming group is circulating nationwide.
Farmers across the United States are battling herbicide-resistant “superweeds,” and the problem may get worse before it gets better. According to a policy brief from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the resistant weed epidemic now affects more than 60 million acres of U.S. cropland, increasing farmers’ costs and leading to the use of older, more toxic herbicides. The brief, “The Rise of Superweeds – and What to Do About It,” analyses the problem with existing and proposed technology fixes, and lays out more sustainable ways to control resistant weeds. These alternatives often have multiple benefits for farmers and the public, and need more emphasis from policy makers and the research community
“It sounds like a bad sci-fi movie or something out of The Twilight Zone, but superweeds are costly and highly problematic for farmers,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist with the UCS Food & Environment Program. “And instead of helping farmers, agribusiness’s proposed solutions would make the problem even worse.”
When Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” product line went on the market 17 years ago, it was supposed to reduce herbicide use. This convenient system of engineered seeds designed to work with the company’s Roundup herbicide enabled farmers to kill weeds while leaving their crops unharmed. Farmers enthusiastically adopted these products as they saved time and made weed control easier. And initially, overall herbicide use declined.
But these benefits were short lived and are being reversed as weed species have evolved resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Fifty percent of U.S. farmers surveyed report glyphosate-resistant weed infestations. In the Southeast, more than 90 percent of cotton and soybean farmers are affected. Today, 24 species of weeds have developed resistance, and as a result, overall herbicide use is now higher than it was before Roundup Ready crops came along.
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