Herbicide-Resistant Palmer Amaranth a Growing Threat to U.S. Farms
|Publication date: September 11, 2014|
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth a growing threat to U.S. farmsResearchers from the University of Illinois report that an invasive weed called Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), which is showing growing resistance to common herbicides, including the widely used glyphosate, has “devastated cotton production” in the southern USA and is spreading at an alarming rate now across the Midwest. Already, it is found in 23 states.
Palmer amaranth is a prolific seed producer which can tolerate heat extremes, grow up to 2.5 metres tall and is challenging to remove. For instance, it cost the state of Georgia at least USD 11 million in 2009 to manually remove it from one million acres of cotton fields. The weed can decrease soybean yields by 78% and corn yields by 91%.
An article in Nature states that the spread of resistant weeds like Palmer amaranth can be traced to the widespread cultivation of crops genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to glyphosate, citing that glyphosate-resistant weeds had infested 25 million hectares of US cropland by 2012. The article questions the proposal to develop GE crops made resistant to multiple herbicides as this is likely to be a flawed solution which will instead fuel the spread of more herbicide-resistant weeds. It calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to do more by way of integrated pest management. The article is available at http://www.nature.com/news/a-growing-problem-1.15382.
With best wishes
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
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