DYERSBURG, Tenn., May 4 (UPI) — Farmers in the Midwest, South and East say their widespread use of the weedkiller Roundup and its generic equivalents has led to hardier weeds.
The farmers must resort to less environmentally friendly methods, such as spraying fields with toxic herbicides and regular plowing, The New York Times reported Monday.
“We’re back to where we were 20 years ago. We’re trying to find out what works,” said Eddie Anderson, a Dyersburg, Tenn., farmer, who for 15 years used environmentally friendly farming techniques including no plowing.
But Anderson said he will plow about one-third of his 3,000 soybean acres this spring.
The new measures may lead to lower crop yields, higher farm costs and resultant food prices, and more land and water pollution, the Times reported.
“It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.
Roundup was originally made by Monsanto, but is also available generically, also sold by its generic name, glyphosate, the Times said.
Currently, Roundup-type crops comprise about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown nationwide, the newspaper said.
The superweeds caused by the weedkiller quickly evolved to survive.
“What we’re talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward,” said Mike Owen, an Iowa State University weed scientist.
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