miércoles, marzo 12, 2008

Bt cotton faces rising pest problems

1. From bollworms to mealy bugs

2. Cotton insect pressure has shifted

3. Bollworm resistance to Bt cotton

4. The super-bollworm cometh

NOTE: Evidence out of China has already shown any initial reductions in pesticide use being eroded by new pest problems. The researchers warned the same patern was likely to be repeated elsewhere, and this seems to be exactly what's happening.

EXTRACTS: India - 'the mealy bug hazard being what it is, one can only hope that the proposed campaign against it is implemented meticulously. Otherwise, this menace can get out of control, nullifying the gains from the cultivation of Bt-cotton.' (item 1)

USA: 'Along with the increased use of Bt cotton came a further reduction in the use of broad spectrum insecticides. Virtual elimination of broad spectrum insecticides provided an ideal environment for stink bugs and plant bugs to flourish.' (item 2)

India: 'If the bollworm pest is seen developing resistance in the US, a country where cultivation is highly organised, land is well demarcated and farming systems are automated/ mechanised, there is no reason to believe it may not happen in India.' (item 3)

USA: 'farmers and seed companies operate according to financial incentives, and there are, in the short term, clear economic downsides to maintaining large refuges. Aside from providing prime habitat for precisely the bugs farmers hate most, they are also a pain in the ass to set up, they depress crop yields, and they reduce the amount of super-seeds companies can sell. Thus there is constant pressure on farming regulators to ease refuge requirements. ...corporate pressure on the EPA might result in the decreasing efficacy of refuge set-asides, and thus hasten the evolution of superpowered cotton-munching caterpillars.' (item 4)

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