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Author Topic:   Agent Orange Corn
herebedragons
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Posts: 1298
From: Michigan
Joined: 11-22-2009
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Message 46 of 47 (666892)
06-30-2012 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by crashfrog
06-27-2012 12:54 PM


Re: The Alternatives
GMO technologies are meant to reduce pesticide use. Even the pesticide resistance traits are meant for that, because they allow you you knock out all weeds during their vulnerable emergence period in one fell swoop, instead of having to keep applying throughout the season because you can only use a little bit at a time without burning down your crop.

Not exactly. Total pesticide use has indeed gone done in the last 15 years. BUT, the use of glyphosate has gone up dramatically. Before RR crops, farmers had to till weeds under and spray with a pre-emergent herbicide. They could then, in a couple weeks, spray post-emergent herbicides to kill grasses and the like before planting their crops. But after crops were in, the crops were NOT sprayed with herbicide, it would have killed them. That is where many people have the problem, pesticides being spayed directly on food crops.

HBD writes:

They are genetically modifying these crops SO they can shower them with pesticides.

I only phrased it that way because

Jon writes:

I can only say that I am more comfortable eating food that has been artificially genetically modified than food that has spent its entire growing season being showered in poisonous chemicals whose only intended purpose is to kill stuff.

He was thinking it was either GMO OR spraying with herbicide. Its not OR its BOTH.

But as far as using the term "shower", I would say it is appropriate. I live in a rural community and I see farmers applying herbicides all the time. You can smell it as you are driving by the field. Here is what it looks like

Yup, that's a shower

However, that "shower" does have benefits. As you pointed out, total pesticide use has gone down, but more importantly, more harmful or persistent herbicides have been replaced with glyphosate, which is just about the safest, most environmentally friendly herbicide on the market. The other major advantage is that farmers no longer till the soil which limits erosion and runoff. In my research of this subject I have become convinced that glyphosate is safe and that we have little cause for concern in including it in our food supply. (I would rather not have it in my food at all, but the advantages of the RR system are just too significant)

Now the problem, the increases in difficult to kill weeds (weeds resistant to glyphosate) are threatening to offset those advantages. Herbicide use is actually on the increase again, especially glyphosate. Farmers are having to use multiple applications of Roundup (sometimes three applications throughout the growing season), along with mixtures of other, less benign herbicides. Many farmers are having to go back to tilling their fields to control the weeds and/or hand pulling the weeds. Now the bio-engineering companies are adding crops that are resistant to multiple herbicides and we may soon begin consuming not only glyphosate but also 2,4-D and whatever herbicide is next on the list.

HBD writes:

Maybe we should all go back to growing our own food for our own families in our own backyards ... Naw.

How do you expect it to work where either of us is able to grow 6-9 months' worth of food over the summer and spring in a 20 by 20 plot?

I did not mean that seriously! I guess I should have used a smiley - (I wish there was a sarcastic smiley :> ) I have neither the resources or desire to raise my own food. It would take away from my time to do important stuff ... like posting on this forum. I will leave farming to the professionals.

Right now, the GMO technology everybody is concerned about is the 15-year-old YieldGuard trait, which expresses a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis that is toxic to caterpillars and beetle larvae. It's meant to be expressed mostly in root tissue, because feeding by soil-dwelling larvae is a major problem in pest control - how do you spray the roots of a plant?

I haven't researched this issue very much yet, but if I understand the situation correctly it is kind of interesting. It seems that bio-engineers cannot yet control exactly where the Bt genes insert into the host organism. Where the genes are spliced into the genome is what determines where the insecticidal products are expressed within the plant. It may be in the roots, or it may be over the entire plant or any other place. So, once they get a insertion that produces a favorable product, they must maintain that stock though tissue culture. So they have several varieties of Bt corn that express the Bt gene in different parts of the plant.

HBD


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by crashfrog, posted 06-27-2012 12:54 PM crashfrog has acknowledged this reply

  
herebedragons
Member
Posts: 1298
From: Michigan
Joined: 11-22-2009
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 47 of 47 (666893)
07-01-2012 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Taq
06-27-2012 11:14 AM


In the third world, they can continue to grow the same crop strains that they have always grown using the same techniques they have always used.

You can't really tell that to the people in Ethiopia or the Sudan or Djibouti (what a great name for a country ) can you? Many of the people in these third world countries are dependent on developing nations for food. And their populations are growing at a much faster rate than developing nations. As the technology of food production becomes more and more costly, so does the cost to third world peoples. Do you think that 30 or 40 year old technology will feed the people of those nations? Hardly.

But I could be entirely wrong. I already admitted to not knowing a whole lot about the economics of third world food acquisition. I am just trying to flesh out my thoughts surrounding the statement I made. And it is really more in the area of politics and ethics anyway, not so much this thread; What obligation do we have to feed people of other countries? Should we base our technological decisions on the needs of people that cannot afford to buy the products?

Anyway, my original point was only that this was a concern of mine as one of the unintended consequences of GE that I felt makes it a worthwhile subject to investigate the subject.

HBD


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Taq, posted 06-27-2012 11:14 AM Taq has not yet responded

  
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