Dicamba-Resistant Crop Timeline

Below is a non-exhaustive timeline of dicamba and dicamba-resistant soybean. I’ll add to it and update it as needed, perhaps with interesting information or current status updates. I’ve mostly put it together for my use in teaching/extension, but thought I’d post it here in case it is useful to others. 1958 Dicamba was discovered and first described. 1967 Dicamba was first registered for use under the trade name ‘Banvel’. It was widely used over the next 30 years to control …

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Occam’s Razor rarely includes conspiracy theories

Proponents of genetically engineered crops (often called GMOs) often decry the anti-GMO movement for promoting implausible conspiracy theories. I consider myself among the GMO proponents who have done exactly this – I’ve been blocked on Twitter by people claiming the Department of Agriculture and Supreme Court of the United States were simply pawns of Monsanto and the pesticide industry. I’ve pushed back against those saying that pesticides are the cause of microcephaly (instead of the Zika virus). I’ve written blog …

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Soybean Response to Dicamba: A Meta-Analysis

(updated 31-May-2018 – text updated to better describe methods, various edits and additions) (updated 29-May-2018 – updated pooled data estimates to use a mixed-effects model) Abstract. A meta-analysis of 11 previously published field studies was conducted in order to summarize existing knowledge of the relationship between dicamba dose and susceptible soybean response. All studies that included visible injury data (N=7) reported injury symptoms at the lowest non-zero dicamba dose applied (as low as 0.03 g ha-1), and therefore a no …

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What does a pesticide taste like?

I honestly can’t believe I just typed that title. But here we are. The notorious Gilles-Eric Seralini published a paper recently called “The Taste of Pesticides in Wines.” As a part of the study, people were asked to choose a preference between organic and conventional wines. Okay, fine. But then the participants were given glasses of water, some of which were spiked with pesticides at doses purportedly found in bottles of wine. This is bizarre on so many levels. For …

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GMOs and Herbicides: it’s complicated

Herbicide use patterns in the US have changed a lot over the last 25 years. Depending on who you talk to, those changes are either proof that modern American agriculture will feed the world with fewer inputs, or proof that the US agricultural system is irreparably broken. There seems to be no middle ground in this discussion. Herbicide use is especially controversial when discussed in the context of genetically engineered crops (often called GMOs, for genetically modified organisms). The most …

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Could GMO corn be responsible for increasing childrens’ IQ?

This is a follow-up to my last post on the recent New York Times article written by Danny Hakim. A small but very important section of the NYT article has been bothering me ever since I read it, but it took me a while to find the time to actually find the data to explain why it bothered me. In my last post, I mostly looked at herbicide use; I’m a weed scientist so I already had that data downloaded and analyzed. …

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The tiresome discussion of initial GMO expectations

A new article in the New York Times has questioned the benefits associated with genetically engineered crops (which I’ll call GMOs for brevity). The response to the article has been pretty predictable; folks who don’t like GMOs are circulating it to say “I told you so.” And ag-twitter has exploded with claims that the New York Times is biased against the technology. The article makes some reasonable points that GMO crops are not a ‘silver bullet’ cure all technology. But almost any …

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Is the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) better than nothing?

This post is probably more technical than most that I write, but it is something that I think needs to be written. I actually debated submitting a short article to a peer reviewed journal, but really didn’t want to wait the months to a year that would require before it saw the light of day. So I’m putting the nuts and bolts here, and perhaps someday I’ll submit some version of this analysis to a journal where “serious academics” can read it. …

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New study confirms herbicide use changed after adoption of GMO corn and soybean 

But, once again, we are left to wonder whether that’s good or bad.  A new paper was just published in the journal Science Advances that analyzes pesticide use data for farmers in the U.S. between 1998 and 2011. The authors (Edward Perry et al.) are currently agricultural economists at four different universities (Kansas State, Virginia, Michigan State, and Iowa State). Their goal was to determine if pesticide use differed between farmers using GMO varieties and farmers who did not use GMO varieties. Overall, …

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