Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Farmers plant more herbicide-tolerant crops amid concern about herbicide-resistant weeds

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service shows U.S. farmers planted more biotech corn, soybeans and cotton in 2010 than ever before. "For all the reported problems with Roundup-resistant weeds in the South, the USDA survey shows little evidence that farmers are shying away from herbicide-tolerant crops," Philip Brasher of the Des Moines Register reports on the Green Fields blog. In Iowa 90 percent of the corn planted in 2010 was biotech, up from 86 percent last year, and 96 percent of the soybeans, compared to 94 percent in 2008, Brasher writes. (USDA chart)

We have reported the rise of Roundup Ready-resistant weeds in the South, which also showed increases in biotech crops. "In Mississippi, 98 percent of the soybeans are herbicide-tolerant this year, up from 94 percent last year. Arkansas is at 96 percent this year, compared to 94 percent in 20008," Brasher writes. "The story is similar in cotton. Seventy-eight percent of the cotton seed planted this year contained the herbicide-resistant gene, up from 71 percent in 2008."

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