The “failure” of biotechnology to increase crop yield

For some reason, over the last few days I’ve heard a lot of people criticizing GMOs for not increasing crop yields. This criticism certainly isn’t new. I don’t really understand the reason for the sudden resurgence of this claim, but it does provide an excuse to address the topic with some actual data. GMOs can claim some successes, but a widespread quantum leap in the yield of important food crops is not one of them. – Jonathan Foley If you take a …

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Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 2,4-D Resistant Corn and Soybean Released

USDA-APHIS has just released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean. The 2,4-D resistant crops were developed by Dow AgroSciences using genetic engineering. The corn and soybeans will be marketed to growers as the “Enlist” weed control system. Crops with the Enlist trait will not only be 2,4-D resistant, but will also have stacked traits that make the crops resistant to glyphosate and glufosinate. The ability to use three very effective herbicide modes of action will …

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Large-scale impacts of herbicide-resistant weeds

As I was updating information on herbicide resistant weeds for class this week, I wanted to find some hard numbers on the large-scale impact herbicide-resistance can have. Obviously, my first thought was to find information on cotton production in the South. Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth has been something of a poster child for the potentially devastating impacts of herbicide resistant weeds in the last few years. It has been dubbed a “superweed” by many, including Nature News, the New York Times, …

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Do cultural and mechanical weed control practices delay development of herbicide resistant weeds?

Researchers from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana will use kochia in a five-year study to help find a solution to weed-resistance to herbicides. Department of Plant Sciences associate professor Andrew Kniss has received a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to analyze methods of weed control other than herbicide. “Diverse crop rotations and tillage are commonly recommended for management of herbicide-resistant weeds, but there is still not that much field-based information on how successful these approaches will be,” explained Kniss. “Since …

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Managing herbicide-resistant weeds

I made this word cloud in preparation for the class I’m teaching tomorrow. I thought it was pretty interesting, so I decided to post it here and share. In class, we’re going to discuss the effectiveness of various practices to manage herbicide resistant weeds. In preparation for tomorrow’s discussion, I asked my students to review 5 different herbicide industry websites to see what they were recommending to manage herbicide resistant weeds. This word cloud was created by taking recommendations from …

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