combat a voracious pest that has evolved to resist the bug-killing crops, a potential blow to makers of biotech seeds. “The measures proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency represent a bold step to thwart the corn rootworm, a bug that ranks among the most expensive crop threats to U.S. corn farmers.
“The plan is aimed at widely grown corn varieties sold by Monsanto Co. , the first to sell rootworm-resistant corn, and rival seed makers including DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. Such corn seeds have been genetically modified to secrete proteins that are toxic to destructive insects, but safe for human consumption, helping to reduce farmers’ reliance on synthetic pesticides.”
Mr. Bunge pointed out that, “The EPA’s proposal would require seed companies to limit some Midwestern farmers’ practice of sowing fields with corn year after year in areas harboring resistant rootworms, whose cream-colored larvae gnaw on corn roots and stunt plants’ growth. The EPA is concerned that if the resistance continues, it will lead farmers to use more synthetic chemicals to thwart the bug, creating environmental risks.
“Representatives of the biotech-seed industry have criticized some parts of the proposal, which was released in January and is subject to a public-comment period until March 16, after which the EPA will finalize any new requirements. “The agency is taking a tougher stance because the industry’s efforts haven’t done enough to stem the spread of pesticide-resistant rootworms in the Midwest, officials said.” The Journal article added that, “Among its proposed changes, the EPA would require makers of rootworm-resistant corn to curb some repeated corn planting in areas badly afflicted by the pest.
Portions of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and some surrounding states–what EPA officials called the rootworm ‘red zone’–the agency is pushing for about 35% of corn fields to be planted with another crop, such as soybeans, after two consecutive years of planting of rootworm-resistant biotech corn. Other high-risk fields should be planted with newer corn that can produce multiple types of bug-killing proteins, according to the EPA proposal.”
We have to keep being told how to farm? Do we have enough scientific training to properly use technology without building resistance to that technology?
Resistance has been a problem for farmers since the first pesticide. Soil erosion has been a problem since the plow.
Can't we figure out how to use these tools without laws on how to use them? I guess we can't.