Watch the video. Are we nipping the potential of our food crops in the bud?
I don't farm certified organic but I think I am closer to it than most of my neighbors and peers. Soil health and quality are extremely important to me because I am farming for profit. I am farming for quality, too. Our family consumes some of the crop we grow, though 99% of it goes into the open commodity markets.
I re-learned this the first year we moved to Martinsville Road. I planted five acres of no-till sweet corn and enjoyed over 200 visitors who bought dozens of our sweet corn, green beans and tomatoes. They told their friends and kept coming back all summer. It was a lot of hard work but people really enjoyed our quality food crops. I apply the same principles to my cash crops.
My first RR soybeans was in 1999 and one of the worst crops I ever grew. They made 20 bushels per acre and had no defense against the dry weather that year. They only had defense against weeds when glyphosate was sprayed on them. The rest of my beans were Ohio Public Stressland soybeans and they made between 40-50 bushel in the same dry year. I never tried RR soybeans again.
My whole farm was a test plot in 2004. I had 30 corn hybrids across our main 50 acre field. None of the GMO hybrids out yielded the non GMO hybrids. I tried two other plots in later years with the same results. That convinced me to stay all non GMO.
When the Asians pulled out of the US soybean market five years ago, I tried LL soybeans. They yielded very well and I had excellent weed control but my non GMO beans for specific markets made more money, even with the extra chemicals I used. On our farm, it takes the same amount of chemical to control weeds even if we are in RR or LL so non GMO is a no brainer for me.
The more I worked with other farmers, the more I saw the same thing. Most of them don't want to give up their GMO and that's OK but those who produce higher yields or are simply satisfied with what they have. If they make more money and are satisfied with what they have, great. Many are not and I hear from more and more of you each year.
Are we nipping more than quality with GMO? Are we nipping our profit too?