Farmers who grow the nation&#39;s most widely planted genetically engineered crop, Monsanto&#39;s Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans, use massive amounts of pesticides and see lower yields, according to a report from the independent Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center (NSEPC). The Center&#39;s analysis warns that the widespread cultivation of the gene-altered soybeans will lead farmers to spray an additional 20 million pounds of pesticides this season.
Farmers who grow the nation's most widely planted genetically engineered crop, Monsanto's Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans, use massive amounts of pesticides and see lower yields, according to a report from the independent Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center (NSEPC). The Center's analysis, reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, warns that the widespread cultivation of the gene-altered soybeans will lead farmers to spray an additional 20 million pounds of pesticides this season.
Monsanto promotes RR soybeans as reducing herbicide use, but according to NSEPC, "Monsanto has manipulated data in ways that fall between misleading and dishonest." Dr. Charles Benbrook, the author of the NSEPC report and a former Director of the National Academy of Sciences Agricultural Board, told the Post- Dispatch that "You just can't say with a straight face that the Roundup Ready system reduces herbicide use."
"This study confirms that genetic engineering means moreÝ chemicals in our environment and our food," said Charles Margulis, a Greenpeace genetic engineering specialist. "We need real solutions for farmers and safe food for consumers, not more of Monsanto's genetic experiments and hollow promises."
The report, "Troubled Times Amid Commercial Success for Roundup Ready Soybeans," also found that thousands of University- based field trials have shown that Monsanto's soybean has lower yields than genetically similar conventional soy varieties. According to NSEPC, "There is voluminous and clear evidence that RR soybeans produce 5 percent to 10 percent fewer bushels per acre" than otherwise identical conventional soybeans.
The NSEPC analysis further warned that overuse of the Roundup herbicide could be responsible for resistant weeds that farmers and scientists are already seeing in some fields. Farmers widespread use of RR soybeans each season and sometimes in rotation with other RR crops has meant increasing amounts of chemicals needed for harder to control weeds.
The new analysis by NSEPC contradicts Monsanto's claims that Roundup Ready soybeans are reducing herbicide use. In fact, the report found that the emergence of weeds that are tolerant to Roundup means that many farmers are spraying the chemical two to three times per season, as opposed to the single application promised in Monsanto's promotional materials. Farmers are also finding that they need to add other chemicals in addition to Roundup, meaning even more herbicides are used.
"More chemicals from gene altered soy means more profit for Monsanto," added Margulis. "But the company clearly puts profits ahead of telling the truth about its toxic products."
The report is available at:
http://www.biotech-info.net/troubledtimes.html. Visit www.truefoodnow.org