Where are the super weeds?

In a recent issue of Nature, Natasha Gilbert took “A hard look at GM crops.” Ms. Gilbert states: “it can be hard to see where scientific evidence ends and dogma and speculation begin.”   “Researchers, farmers, activists and GM seed companies all stridently promote their views, but the scientific data are often inconclusive or contradictory. Complicated truths have long been obscured by the fierce rhetoric.” I agree wholeheartedly. Especially when browsing the internet, there is a lot of misinformation, half-truths, and …

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Using ethofumesate when irrigating for emergence

by Andrew Kniss & Abdel Mesbah At a recent meeting in Powell, I was asked how to best use ethofumesate (active ingredient in Nortron SC and other herbicides) in fields that must be furrow irrigated for sugarbeet emergence. This is a difficult question. Ethofumesate (and almost all soil applied herbicides) require soil moisture to be effective. Ideally, residual herbicides should be applied to the soil shortly before either rainfall or overhead irrigation. Growers who have sprinkler systems in their field …

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If you’re a frog in a field, there are many ways to croak

Just saw a link to a story on the Guardian titled “Common pesticides ‘can kill frogs within an hour’“. Obviously, my interest was peaked. Global amphibian decline is a well-noted phenomenon, and it is possible that pesticides may play some role. But killing frogs “within an hour” is a pretty shocking result for a pesticide that is used properly. The Guardian piece reports on a study published today in Scientific Reports by Carsten Bruhl et al. The study aimed to study …

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Herbicides for sainfoin

We continue to get quite a few questions about weed control in sainfoin. Unfortunately, there are very few herbicide options currently registered for use in sainfoin (only 6 different active ingredients). We are investigating some additional herbicides in ongoing research trials. Although several herbicides look promising in our trials, these potential options will not be registered in time for the 2013 growing season (in fact, it is a distinct possibility they never will be). The following table lists currently registered herbicides for …

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Social benefits of biotech crops

Ask any sugarbeet grower in the US how their lives have changed since the commercialization of Roundup Ready beets. Really. Ask them. Before you rail against the technology, or denounce the evil corporations for creating them. Before you argue on twitter or Facebook about how good or bad the technology is for society. Before you write your next post for the New York Times or Grist. Ask a farmer who uses the technology. And then think about what they say. Don Lilleboe at …

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Do genetically engineered crops really increase herbicide use?

Another interesting article about GMOs has been making the rounds today. This one was written by Dr. Charles Benbrook, Chief Science Consultant for The Organic Center. This publication is an updated version of a report that The Organic Center published in 2009. The new version has been published in “Environmental Sciences Europe” and can be downloaded here for free (hooray for open access!). The title of the article is “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first …

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Some comments on the Purdue glyphosate-disease article

I’ve noticed a very interesting headline making the rounds on Twitter the last couple days. The headline: “Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be less susceptible to diseases” originated with a press release from Purdue University. The article’s headline is apparently taken from a rather speculative quote by one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Steve Hallett: “We may be selecting not only for glyphosate resistance, but inadvertently selecting for weeds that have disease resistance as well.” Dr. Hallet’s statement seems to be speculative, and …

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EIS for Roundup Ready sugarbeet released

In 2012, at least 95% of sugarbeet acres in the U.S. were planted to Roundup Ready varieties, meaning they are resistant to glyphosate. Growers have overwhelmingly adopted this technology for a variety of reasons. Due to some recent litigation, however, sugarbeet growers have been required to follow some very strict guidelines on how these varieties can be grown and handled. These requirements stem from the USDA’s decision to “partially deregulate” Roundup Ready sugarbeet while a full environmental impact statement (EIS) …

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Weed control in sainfoin

UPDATE For a full list of herbicides registered for use in sainfoin, see this post: Herbicides for sainfoin Sainfoin is being promoted by a variety of sources as a good forage alternative to alfalfa. It has many desirable attributes: it has high nutritional content, it seems well adapted to Wyoming (particularly northern Wyoming), and it does not cause bloat so it can be grazed. The University of Wyoming has released 2 varieties of sainfoin that are well adapted to the …

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