USDA report: genetically engineered crops don’t measure up
Friday, March 21, 2014 - Even though the USDA "has never met a GMO it didn’t like", reading between the lines of its new report on Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States reveals that the USDA has finally admitted to a few things that has been common knowledge to the rest of us for quite a while.
- GE crops do not have higher yield. “Over the first 15 years of commercial use, GE seeds have not been shown to increase yield potentials of the varieties. In fact, the yields of herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant seeds may be occasionally lower than the yields of conventional varieties...[p. 12]. However, the misleading information put out by Monsanto and others of like ilk does work …over 70% of farmers believe GE crops increase yield and that is the reason they gave for planting them. Please see, Failure to Yield, by Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman.
- GE crops do not reduce pesticide use. Insecticide use has decreased since the introduction of Bt crops, “However, there are some indications that insect resistance is developing to some Bt traits in some areas [summary, emphasis added].” But insecticide use has gone down even more dramatically in non-GE corn crops [Fig. 13], “suggest[ing] that insect infestation levels on corn were lower in recent years than in earlier years.
Unfortunately, insects are developing a resistance to the Bt crops. Within seven years of the first Bt crops, the bollworm started to become resistant to Bt cotton and the corn rootworm to the Bt corn. The solution, as always, was to stack traits and add more of the Bt traits (Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab for cotton; Cry3Bb1, mCry3A & Cry34/35Ab1 for corn). But the worms continue to develop resistance to the toxins one by one in spite of crop buffer zones. Recommendations are crop rotation and more insecticide use.
Herbicide use declined in the first few years, then has steadily increased. "Herbicide use on corn by HT adopters increased from around 1.5 pounds per planted acre in both 2001 and 2005 to more than 2.0 pounds per planted acre in 2010, whereas herbicide use by nonadopters did not change much." Please see, Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. -- the first sixteen years.
- Herbicide use [Roundup] has resulted in glyphosate-resistant super-weeds. “HT adoption likely reduced herbicide use initially, but herbicide resistance among weed populations may have induced farmers to raise application rates in recent years, Dr. Benbrook told us that, too. What, then are the benefits of GE crops?
The report did not address the problems of animal and human health except to say that glyphosate is relatively benign and significantly less toxic and less persistent than traditional herbicides. However, a footnote admitted that not all scientists agree that glyphosate is less toxic and less persistent.
Learn more at this link: http://www.examiner.com/article/usda-report-genetically-engineered-crops-don-t-measure-up