When the particular weed killer Roundup had been introduced in the seventies, it demonstrated it could eliminate almost any plant yet still be safer than many other herbicides, plus it helped farmers to quit harsher chemicals and lower tilling which could promote erosion. But 24 years later, a few sturdy species of weed resistant to Roundup have evolved, forcing farmers to go back to some of the less environmentally safe practices they abandoned many years ago.

The situation is the worst within the South, in which a number of farmers now walk fields with hoes, killing weeds in a way their great-grandfathers were happy to leave behind. And the issue is spreading quickly across the Corn Belt and beyond, with Roundup today appearing unreliable in killing at least 10 weed varieties in around 22 states. Some species, like Palmer amaranth in Arkansas and water hemp as well as marestail within Illinois, develop fast and huge, producing tens of thousands of seeds.

These have started to become such a big deal and people don’t know or care about this at all. This is the common sentiment by the locals and agronomists who cultivate soybeans as well as cotton close to the southern Illinois community of Creal Springs. When you have these things and deal with them, they become such real big problems. When Monsanto presented Roundup in 1976, it was like the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. This is what these developers of corn and soybeans next to Auburn in central Illinois think in with this decision.

The grass killer, known generically as glyphosate, is ingested by means of plants’ leaves and kills them by obstructing the production of proteins they need to grow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency views it to have little toxicity to people and animals, and aside from the plants it’s dispersed on, it’s much less of a threat to the environment because it quickly adheres to soil and becomes inactive. Monsanto’s introduction of seeds made to survive Roundup made things better yet for farmers because they could spray it on rising crops to eliminate the weeds thriving along with them.

Seeds that contain Monsanto’s Roundup Ready characteristics are actually utilized to grow about 90% of the nation’s soybeans and 70% of the corn as well as cotton. With increased reliance on Roundup, herbicide use on corn decreased from 2.76 lbs an acre in 1994 to 2.06 in 2005, the most recent year for which the U.S. Department of Agriculture has information. Spread that out over the 81.8 million acres planted in 2005, and it’s a decline of greater than 57 million pounds of herbicides each year. Farmers also observed they are able to cut back, or in some cases remove tilling, reducing erosion and fuel use. However with any herbicide, the greater it’s utilized, the more probable it’ll encounter individual plants within a species which have just enough genetic deviation to endure what will kill most of their kin. With each generation, the survivors signify a larger percent belonging to the species.



Source by Steph Boone