Thursday, April 24, 2014

Do We Need RR Alfalfa Or Wheat?

A food safety group filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release documents in court that could explain why the federal agency approved genetically engineered alfalfa despite its misgivings about environmental safety.

The Washington-based Center for Food Safety said Thursday the USDA may have come under pressure by seed giant Monsanto Co. to grant approval of its Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is designed to withstand multiple applications of herbicide.

“USDA determined Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa posed significant environmental and economic harms and initially proposed placing restrictions on it. Yet the agency went ahead and granted full unrestricted approval one month later,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety, said in a prepared statement. “Did the White House intervene? Did Monsanto pressure the agency? The fact is we don’t know, and unless the court orders USDA to hand over these documents we may never know.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gmo-alfalfa-20140313,0,6462829.story#ixzz2yOjh7Z7l

I don't feel I need RR wheat or RR alfalfa.  I am one person and from the old school when RR was not even existent.

Do we need RR alfalfa or wheat?  Will either one improve anything?

Ed Winkle

9 comments:

  1. I am going to be gone a few days so the blog will be inactive.

    Thanks,

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  2. Roundup ready Alfalfa is amazing stuff. Out here in Oregon weeds grow all year and tend to out-compete the alfalfa. When the weeds really take off in the spring and the alfalfa starts to grow you hit it with Roundup and it is suddenly clean. After an early first cutting you will also get a flush of broadleaf and grass and you can hit it again. You don't have to worry about Groundsel or thistles and the stand lasts forever.
    Alfalfa requires applications of 2,4-D which also puts severe stress on the Alfalfa. ROundup doesn't affect the Alfalfa at all.
    However.... If your market is export to Japan, people who are terrified of GMO, alfalfa seed exports which will be contaminated by cross contamination (and will result in a loss of your market plus a lawsuit from Monsanto), then you probably shouldn't grow it. Although my resolve is starting to weaken.
    Round-up resistant Wheat present similar issues.
    Of course this is kind of a BS argument anyway. Genetically modified seed can have other traits than resistance to Round-up. It is GMO but why do people not consider it poison?
    Of course the arguments don't matter, image is everything...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly like roundup ready canola here. An application of cheap glyphosate and my canola crop is clean. In the pre RR canola days I had to mix up a blend of herbicides to get all the weeds and hope that I hit it at the right time. With roundup I get two chances to spray out the weeds and it is still cheaper than the old herbicides. Of course there is that annoying monsanto technology fee we have to pay too.

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  3. Well it makes sense in conventional agriculture where farmers are asked to grow thousands rather than hundreds of acres. If you are going to use a chemical pesticide anyway, as well choose the least toxic and add a gene that helps the plant withstand it. Any non-GMO field that uses other herbicides will necessarily have a higher toxicity level.

    The technology itself is safe, it's the type of gene inserted and how it's being used that needs to be reviewed. In the case of R/R crops for instance, what I really don't like is that we seem to be headed for a "Roundup everything" practice, where glyphosate becomes the dominant herbicide on the planet. Just like monocultures, the usage of a single herbicide, regardless of its intrinsic toxicity, brings problems of its own, like tolerant or resistant weeds, and there is no doubt that it accumulates in higher rates up in the food scales, in our bodies, if we are getting traces of it from everything we eat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dr. Gregory Stock said it in similar words in this c-span debate with Jeffrey Smith: "The real issue is "what" was made, not "how" it was made."
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?318292-1/genetically-modified-food

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    Replies
    1. There are some who argue the process is as important as the result. Sort of a "world view" argument there.

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  5. Good comments all and I do appreciate them!

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
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