Superweeds Start Herbicide Arms Race on Farms
Roundup's strangehold falters in face of new threats
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 4, 2010 10:11 AM CDT
An Oklahoma farmer sprays soybean fields using a crop duster airplanes, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007.   (AP Photo/Brandi Simons)

(Newser) – New breeds of “superweeds” are creeping across the Farm Belt, and shaking up the weedkiller and seed industries in the process. The long-dominant Roundup can't deal with immune invaders like pigweed, horseweed, and Johnsgrass, which has given rival chemical companies a chance to bring back old herbicides that Roundup long ago pushed out of the market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Roundup took control of the scene by selling both weedkiller and seeds for “Roundup Ready” crops immune to that weedkiller. So now, Dow Chemical, DuPont, and others are spending hundreds of millions to engineer seeds to their older herbicides. “It is a new era,” said one Dow scientist. But the push could be controversial, because those older herbicides are also less environmentally friendly than Roundup; they're more likely to drift to neighboring farms or wild vegetation.

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
schmidtkoff
Jun 4, 2010 6:21 PM CDT
as i have posted many posts ago this brings to mind a novel that i read a long long time ago that still is in my memory bank. "earth abides" by george r. stewart, and the title page: "men come and go but earth abides". super weeds, super bugs and viruses will probably prevail long after man's footprints have faded. it is our arrogance that thinks we can chemically dispose of everything that we perceive as a threat. evolution. i really don't think we have control of that.
Realist
Jun 4, 2010 5:41 PM CDT
This is what happens when you try to bend nature. Pretty-much any animal or plant occupies a niche, keeping other species in check. When you start fucking around with the balance, nature adapts. Monsanto has royally screwed the world over.
CHRiSTFELD
Jun 4, 2010 3:19 PM CDT
Chemicals: they're what's for dinner.