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2,4-D Herbicide & GMO Crops: Rise of Superweeds
Super Weeds Explained
1. Got a Weed Problem?
Farmers who kill weeds on their fields with toxic herbicides began to kick it up a notch in 1996 when the first genetically engineered (GE) crops marketed to withstand herbicides started being planted in the U.S. The promise was that these GE crops would reduce pesticide use. Unfortunately, they've done the exact opposite by creating superweeds. Here's how:
2. Applying the Roundup
At first, blanket spraying of the weed killer glyphosate cleared out the weeds without affecting Monsanto's "RoundUp ® Ready" crops that had been genetically engineered to withstand the glyphosate.
3. Weeds Aquire Resistance
But over time, the weeds that were able to withstand glyphosate survived and spread to more and more fields. And the RoundUp® was unable to kill the "superweeds" it had created.
4. Perpetuating the Problem
Instead of delivering on the promises of lower herbicide use and lessened environmental pollution, the glyphosate-tolerant crops caused increased herbicide use.
Now, rather than taking a step back and re-evaluating the GE crop strategy in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are rushing to approve new GE crops in combination with Dow AgroSciences's 2,4-D with glyphosate Enlist® Duo herbicide, which would lead to much greater use of 2,4-D and greater environmental pollution.
Benbrook C. 2012. Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years. Environmental Sciences Europe 24:24.
Owen MD. Weed species shifts in glyphosate-resistant crops. Pest Manag Sci. 64(4): 377-87.
Owen MD, Young BG, Shaw DR, Wilson RG, Jordan DL, Dixon PM, Weller SC. 2011. Benchmark study on glyphosate-resistant crop systems in the United States. Part 2: Perspectives. Pest Manag Sci. 67(7): 747-57.