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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Killer weeds spurn Roundup - Monsanto involved again...

Killer weeds spurn Roundup

Agriculture is facing a new threat in the form of weeds that have developed a resistance to the herbicide Roundup and its generic form, glyphosate. So far, the resistant weeds have not shown up in South Dakota, but are in neighboring Minnesota. One of the weeds that has quickly adapted to become resistant is pigweed, a common plant that is well known in the richer soils of South Dakota. Pigweed (right) can grow three inches a day to six feet tall and is so tough that it can damage farm equipment. Horseweed and giant ragweed are among the ten weeds which have developed a resistance to glyphosate.

The resistant strains of weeds have a gloomy portent for agriculture. Ninety percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified (GM) to be resistant to Roundup, a herbicide that is applied to soil and kills all plants except the crops genetically modified to be resistant to it. Seventy percent of the corn and cotton grown in the U.S. are also such GM crops.

Roundup herbicide has had advantages for agriculture in South Dakota. It lessens the amount of work it takes to grow crops, it has changed the methods of farming to lessen erosion and toxicity problems. As an herbicide, it is much less dangerous and toxic than other chemicals and degrades without leaving much residual chemicals in the soil.
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