Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Anyone who grows food depends on seed. I imagine our Native Americans hand picked the seed traits that became the corn the white man grew the last 200 years or so. I bet they picked the best ears and selected the best kernals from the plants they thought did the best over the growing season.

The history of corn is rather hidden because most of this was never written down. If it was, it never got saved, kinda like the Lost Ark. If either one exists and I think they do in some fashion, they are a treasure of hidden information.

When corn was genetically modified, those gene isertions directed the pedigrees of the seed we grow today in a very narrow line. Did they have the traits our best seed had or were some left out? Why have we been seeing more Stewart's Wilt, Anthracnose and now Goss's Wilt? Were those genes left out?

Then throw in the glyphosate controversey. Farmers are just learning about the rapidly increasing resistance of weeds to glyphosate. Farmers are noticing all the yellow in their Round Up Ready soybean leaves. What is glyphosate doing to the soil or the plants that grow in it?

Some say Monsanto's PowerMax makes the beans more yellow than generic glyphosate. Is the adjuvant different? Some of those fields have the worst Goss's Wilt in corn. Is the adjuvant worse than the glyphosate it carries? What if that adjuvant is used in other sprays and adds to the resistance of pest and takes away from the resistance in crop genes? It's all quite possible and we don't know yet.

I do think genetically modified crops have led us down a very narrow path. It's a path so narrow now that we can't turn back quickly if any of these problems are true. GMO's dominate over 90% of the US corn and soybean seed market.

This is not doom and gloom, just exploring the possibilities to answer some questions a few people wonder about and most won't even understand even after it is too late.

I do have faith we will go on in some fashion but we are all learning the problems of genetically modified organisms. Maybe we really shouldn't have messed around with Mother Nature that much.

I don't plant much GMO seed so my main concern is getting the seed I want for next year. I think enough corn seed production has been lost or affected by weather or disease I will get my order in now.

Ed Winkle

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