April 20, 2009

Two months into the blog, we have gotten our feet wet and we’re getting a handle on what works and what doesn’t. We are also coming across some challenges we did not anticipate. With this in mind, we want to call to your attention to some tweaks in our comment policy.

First, we have found a need to include language about fabricated reply postings. Last week I received the following comment being held for moderation.

“My name is Okam Muboye. I am one of 27 family owners of a cooperative farm near Lesotho. We were not sued (yet), but received a “cease and desist” letter from Monsanto because the strain of brown rice we have been growing in this region – since at least 1877 when the British Museum secured a sample – has now been patented by Monsanto.

That is the downside. It was our primary crop. Now we have only 27 (of the original 59) families left here; the rest have had to go find work in the cities and the nearby marble pits because the rice was the only thing we could make any money on.

For every farm like ours, there are a thousand others where someone like me – someone lucky enough to have been educated in Britain and who has computer access – isn’t there to speak up.

The responsible party is he – or she – who has the ability to respond.”

I found the comment suspect as Monsanto 1) doesn’t have any commercial rice products, nor are we currently doing any rice research and 2) Monsanto donated its work on the rice genome to the International Rice Research Institute in The Philippines and did not seek to commercialize rice varieties, patented or otherwise.

Also, while I am no patent lawyer, it seemed odd that this story suggested Monsanto had a patent on a variety that it did not invent or create. Fearing a hoax, I decided to do some digging before posting. Sure enough, Kinyua, a colleague in Africa, confirmed that there was no truth to this story.

As you know, we have a transparent commenting policy allowing comments as long as they aren’t profane or threatening. This comment posed something of a challenge to us. We do not want to censor things, but we don’t want to become a platform for fabricated propaganda against Monsanto. That being said, comments such as the one above will be held while we ensure the validity of the statement. If it is not true we will post the comment with a note stating there is no validity in the comment. If it is true it will be posted.

Another change is the response to comments coming from the blog managers. We make every effort to respond to questions on older blog posts. Unfortunately, the questions have tended to run on indefinitely. Apart of the policy changes, Monsanto blog managers will make every effort to respond to blog post comments for up to 10 days after the original posting date. This is an open forum for employees and readers alike, but those of those of us who manage this blog cannot continue to ensure a response 10 days after posting. We considered closing comment periods, but felt that wouldn’t be fair to those who want to comment on the older blog posts.

Part of the issue with run-on threads is that people have many questions and comments, many of which are off topic from the original post.  We encourage all commenters to browse through older (and newer) threads when they have questions. Odds are someone has answered your question. If not, as a means of addressing this, we have included a suggestion page on the blog so that we can identify the topics of greatest interest to readers. Suggestions need to be kept short.

Thank you so much for reading thus far, and stick around for much more to come!

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29 Responses to “CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES!”

  1. Bill Pilacinski Says:

    When I first found the Monsanto Blog on our intranet, I thought, “What a great idea! We can interact directly with average people, probably non-scientists, who have honest questions and concerns.” I read Santiago’s post and was further encourage – until I read the comments – then I became depressed. It appears to me that rather than a forum for open and reasonable discourse, the blog has become place where those who wish to spread half-truths, or even lies, have a place to do so; and there appear to be many more of these types than those who understand an issue well enough, and are willing to open themselves to unreasonable criticism, to respond.

  2. Steve Mays Says:

    Props on how you’ve handled this. Would have been easy enough to just kill the comment but this adds some valuable perspective.

    PS: Congrats on working in two metaphors in the first sentence .

  3. Dr Moore MD Says:

    ‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands.
    “Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms.
    Today, 100,000 acres in Georgia are severely infested with pigweed and 29 counties have now confirmed resistance to glyphosate, according to weed specialist Stanley Culpepper from the University of Georgia.

  4. John Says:

    Dr. Moore,

    I see you entered the comment section of a blog post about off-topic comments and left a news link about weeds. You might find it helpful to read the actual blog post — if you read, you’ll see that there’s a “Topics Suggestion” link where you can suggest topics. That helps keep comment threads on topic.

    Regarding the link: Putting aside “superweed” hype for a moment, there are certainly weeds that are resistant to glyphosate. To date, 12 have been identified. Glyphosate has been around for decades and still controls over 300 weeds.

    Where resistant weeds have been identified, they have been effectively managed with other herbicides and/or cultural practices. In those situations, growers have continued to use Roundup herbicide as the cornerstone of a successful weed management plan.

    Monsanto works closely with growers to address weed resistance, and we always encourage growers to report suspected cases.

  5. cheryl Says:

    There is a disturbing, highly infectious newly emerging disease that appears to be linked to genetically modified organisms, “morgellons disease.” It frequently manifests as biosynthetic fibers growing throughout a person’s body, emerging through the skin like hairs which shed constantly. Contact with the shed fibers spreads the disease. The fibers have been tested at MIT’s Lambda labs; they found high-density polyethelene fibers with cellulose, agrobacterium, and crystals. The agrobacterium is that which is used in biotech for genetic engineering. Morgellons disease destroys peoples’ physical and mental health. Say no to GMOs, biotech and nanotech. Or you may pay with your health.

  6. Deborah Rubin Says:

    John, if you want to move this comment to an applicable thread dealing with herbicide resistance or increasing/decreasing herbicide use, fine. I can’t find one. It seems like the weeds are getting more difficult to effectively manage with some acres being abandoned by farmers. How does the consumer and environment benefit from the increased exposure to multiple pesticides?

    Are these methods really sustainable in the true sense of the word?
    The epicenter of glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed is Macon County, Ga. That site is now 70 percent to 80 percent resistant and over 10,000 acres were abandoned in 2007.”

    Palmer amaranth is suspected to be resistant on 300,000 acres in 20 counties in Georgia; 130,000 acres in nine counties in South Carolina; 200,000 acres in 22 counties in North Carolina.

    To keep the problem from getting worse, growers “have to get serious about resistance management,” York said. “We have to focus on reducing selection pressure.

    “We can no longer go with glyphosate-only programs. We have to do something else. Basically, it’s getting more herbicides and more modes of action out there. We’re talking about putting out residuals, tank mixes, full use rates, and if cultivation fits, fine.

    “Roundup Ready technology is convenient, easy and forgiving. It made our growers into weed sprayers. Resistant weeds are going to cause us to go back to being weed managers.”

    “There’s no question, we have a lot of problems in the Southeast,” York said. “For us, the horse is already out of the barn. For the Mid-South, you don’t want to go down this path we’re on right now.”

  7. Mike Says:

    I think this speaks volumes to the tactics, ethics and goals of folks who try to push this agenda.

    They don’t really have anything of substance to hang their hats on, so they rely on fearmongering, propoganda and on occasions just plain ol fibbing.

    Good catch and great to hear we are doing something to catch these misleading tactics!

  8. hh Says:

    GE Fails To Boost US Crop Yields: Study

  9. Josh Says:

    Cheryl, after doing all of 2 minutes of research on Morgellons “disease” is thought to be a purely delusional disorder by many health professionals. Most don’t consider it a new disease and even those that do have not come to a consensus on the cause. Genetic modification is on the same list with the same amount of proof as aliens and government bioweapons.

    On the original topic, the idea of resistance is nothing new. Plants, animals, viruses and bacteria all have become resistant to both natural and man made toxins. According to wikipedia, Staphylococcus aureus became resistant to Penicillin just 4 years after it became mass produced. The idea is to limit resistance or slow it down as much as possible. One method to reduce resistance is to use multiple chemicals with differing modes of action. If a chemical is say effective on 99.9% of the population, every 1 in 1,000 will survive and propogate as resistant. If you use 2 chemicals with different modes of action that are each 99.9% effective, then that number drops to 1 in 1,000,000 that will survive. It’s not a failure of GM or Roundup that resistant population arose. I think Monsanto is doing a great job of getting the word out to farmers on how to combat this problem and how to prevent it from spreading.

  10. Ewan Ross Says:

    Deborah and Dr M:-

    Take a step back and ask yourselves – how would these weeds have been dealt with in a system without roundup use?

    I’m not an expert on weed management by any stretch of the imagination, but if the evolution of roundup resistance in these weeds makes them impossible to control, then roundup simply bought these farms more time. If they can be controlled by other more targetted means – then where exactly is the big problem? Obviously weeds themselves pose a huge problem to agriculture, but again, to tie this problem to GMOs or roundup use in particular misses the point entirely (although there is a good case to be made that ANY herbicide used without others in tandem is not a great idea in hindsight – but only as regards future ability to use that particular herbicide)

  11. John Q Says:


    I REALLY hesitate to respond and give your post any credibility.

    IF “Morgellons” is an actual disease, then it supposedly originated in 1600’s, so I doubt GMOs, biotech, or nanotech are responsible. Even the official “Morgellons” site disproves your assertions:

    I prefer to use the scientific method to support such claims, and while I can find LOTS of anecdotes on the Internet (most of which support the Morgellons people, but not your allegations), NONE of them provide any actual INDEPENDENTLY REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE to show that this is a real physical phenomenon, much less an actual infections disease.

    The best refutation I found was
    which also points to

    From those, it seems to me that “Morgellons” is more of an Internet-transmitted Social Disease (similar to an Urban Myth) than something caused by a biological agent.

    Not that this diminishes their suffering, which I am sure is real to them.

  12. John Q Says:


    Can you post an original link to your reference?

    My understanding is tinyurl is just a forwarding service with NO original content, and may well be used to pass people off to malware sites before redirecting to “legitimate” content.

    As such, I will not click any tinyurl link.

    However, I AM interested in your information, if you can provide me a safe way to get to it.

  13. Deborah Rubin Says:

    John, Morgollons is being studied by the CDC right now and is not merely a psychosomatic disorder as was first thought.

    This observation indicates possible involvement of pathogenic Agrobacterium, which is known to produce cellulose fibers at infection sites within host tissues. Methods: Skin biopsy samples from two Morgellons patients were subjected to high-stringency PCR testing for genes encoded by the Agrobacterium chromosome. Screening of the same samples for Agrobacterium virulence (vir) genes and T-DNA sequences in the patient’s genome was also performed. Results: PCR screening indicated the presence of Agrobacterium genes derived both from the chromosome and from the Ti plasmid, including the T-DNA, in tissues from both Morgellons patients. Conclusions: Our preliminary results indicate that Agrobacterium may be involved in the etiology and/or progression of Morgellons disease. If these results are confirmed, it would be the first example of a plant-infecting bacterium playing a role in human disease.

    Further testing is ongoing to validate this observation and to determine whether Agrobacterium not only resides in the infected areas, but also transforms them genetically.

  14. John Q Says:

    Ewan, once again, I find myself agreeing with you.

    One could take Deborah’s and Dr. M’s quotes, replace “glyphosate” with “penicillin” and “pigweed” with “staphylococcus” and get an article worthy of publishing by any hospital in the developed world.

    Resistance is not a new concept, nor is it restricted to pesticides. In fact, some argue that it is resistance that allowed the human species to survive the Plague.

    As you suggest, tandem use of other ‘cides with differing modes of action is one effective way to combat this. I think Monsanto is working on products to do exactly that kind of thing. At least, if I were a company that claims to be a leader in the industry, as Monsanto does, that is what I would be doing! ;^)

  15. Ewan Ross Says:

    John – I’m assuming it is the UCS report. Discussed on:-

  16. John Q Says:

    Deborah, thank you for the links.

    I noticed you quoted exclusively from the Morgellons link, and not from the CDC link.

    Some quotes I found on the CDC link:

    “To date, the cause of this condition is unknown, and there is insufficient information to determine whether persons who identify themselves as having this condition, have common cause for their symptoms or may share common risk factors.”

    No confirmation of the “causes” quoted by the original commentor.

    “They have, at least, had patients report that they are suffering from these symptoms in several countries, including Canada, several European countries, and Australia.”

    “Several European contries” leads me to think it is NOT GM related, as there is news all over the place about Europe banning GMO’s.

    “What I can tell you is real is the suffering that these patients are experiencing. I cannot characterize this as a syndrome, as disease.”

    “Our message is simply that we are aware that several people are suffering from this condition. We don′t, at this point, have any evidence that suggests that this is a communicable illness. And, that we are launching a systematic and rigorous investigation to learn more about it.”

    Again, contradicting the original poster.

    Also, from

    “Morgellons appears to occur wherever there are people. In particular, where there are lots of people. But even more specifically the distribution of Morgellons cases around the world appears to mirror those countries that have the best internet connections.”

    “And don’t assume that the CDC would only evaluate “legitimate” diseases with actual physical causes. They have had experience in mass sociogenic illness before.”

    I didn’t see any categoric declaration that Morgellons “is not merely a psychosomatic disorder as was first thought.”

    Can you point me to that?


    I though Monsanto had a better refutation of the UCS report somewhere, but I can’t find it.

  17. Mica Says:

    Deborah – I’ve really respected your comments up til now. However, I’m disasppointed to see you leap onto this ridiculous Morgellon’s disease posting. I know you didn’t endorse Cheryl’s suggestion, but commenting further on it sure makes it sound like you’re giving it some credence. I’m hoping that’s not the case.

  18. Kate Says:

    Ewan and John,
    In regard to the UCS report there were two other reviews that examined the ‘findings’ of the report.

    Union of Concerned Scientists report on GM crop performance is misleading.
    PG Economics, Ltd.

    An analysis of “Failure to Yield” by Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists
    Wayne Parrott, Professor. Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, University of Georgia

  19. Deborah Rubin Says:

    John, the Morgollons’ link I quoted from is a lab analysis done by Suny Stony Brook, and posted to the Morgollons site. I hardly doubt Suny made this up. It looks like more reports are expected soon. Is SUNY associated with fringe ideas and conspiracy theory bolstering? I hadn’t heard.

    We will have to see what they find. The info from Suny was pretty specific.

    John, I did notice the CDC seems to contradict themselves in this telebriefing, very similar to FDA briefing on melamine, IMO.

    Here are some quotes that sound as if they accept a disease, of course they have not publicly acknowleged a cause, perhaps they have no conclusions yets so early on in the investigation:

    DR. MICHELE PEARSON: Thank you, Dave and good afternoon. I′d like to begin by providing some background on this condition. Over the past year or so, the CDC has received an increased number of inquiries, regarding an unexplained condition which some refer to as Morgellons. Persons who suffer from this condition report a range of dermatologic symptoms, such as skin rashes and sores associated with abnormal skin sensations, such as crawling, biting and stinging sensations and the presence of thread, fibers, other foreign material on or beneath the skin. In addition to these skin manifestations, many sufferers also report fatigue, mental confusion, memory loss, joint pain and changes in vision.

    To date, the cause of this condition is unknown, and there is insufficient information to determine whether persons who identify themselves as having this condition, have common cause for their symptoms or may share common risk factors.

    What is clearl [sic], however, is that those who suffer from this condition, as well as their family members and physicians who provide care to them have questions, and we want to help them find meaningful answers.

    Let me conclude by saying that this condition is complex, and it may be due to multiple factors. We are certain that this study will not provide answers to all of the questions. This may be one of many studies that will need to be done on this condition. Nevertheless, we believe this study should provide some useful insights and information, not only to the medical and scientific community, but most importantly to persons who suffer from this condition. Thank you.

    MIRIAM FALCO: Hi, thanks for taking the questions. Dr. Pearson, I missed the top of this, so I may be asking you something you all ready explained, but number one, are you—even on the press release, it says mystery disease. And from what was just described by Dr. Selby it still seems is this a disease or not? Does the CDC consider this to be a real disease?

    DR. MICHELE PEARSON: First of all, what is very clearly to us is that there are a number of persons who are suffering the condition and the symptoms that we described. Part of the reason, in a large part we′re conducting this investigation is because we don′t know what it is and this is really an unexplained condition. So we′re hoping to learn a lot about, not only the constellation of symptoms, but the impact of this condition on those who are affected as well as things that might be causing and contributing to it.

    DAVE DAIGLE: Dr. Selby, did you want to add to that?

    DR. JOE SELBY: Just to confirm it, and to clarify that because one of our goals is to determine the rate at which this condition is occurring, we need to know not only how many cases there are but what is the size of the population that these cases are coming from? So we will not be able to see all cases occurring in the United States or even all cases occurring in Northern California. We will see the cases that come from the population defined by membership in Kaiser Permanente.

    ROB FORMAN: Yes, a question, please for both doctors. This has been a mystery for some length of time. What was the impetus for, for lack of a better word, finally saying, “Today we are moving forward.” And, also as I look at the map from the Morgellons Research Foundation, I see certain geographical patterns, what might they suggest to you at this early stage?

    DR. MICHELE PEARSON: Why don′t I take that, Dr. Selby. It′s certainly, this investigation has, I think, moved slower than any of us would have liked. We are aware that many patients have suffered from this condition. And, I can tell you that here at CDC, we have really been seeing an increasing number of these reports over the last year or so. And over the last year or so, we really have been diligently working to plan a systematic and rigorous scientific investigation to look at this more critically.

    WILL DUNHAM: Hi, this is Will Dunham in the Reuters Washington Bureau. Dr. Pearson, I want to follow up on, I think, the first question that you were asked. Are you now not prepared to say that you believe that this is a real medical condition?

    DR. MICHELE PEARSON: What I can tell you is real is the suffering that these patients are experiencing. I cannot characterize this as a syndrome, as disease. I can tell you it′s an unexplained illness. That clearly, the suffering that these patients are experiencing is real. I′ve actually, as part of my preparation for taking on this scientific lead have actually seen not only as a scientist, but as a physician, a patient up close and personal, and I thought that was very important for me to do, as part of my preparation for this. I had read about it. I had had heard about it. And I talked to numerous patients over the phone, but I′ve actually had the opportunity to meet one of these patients first hand.

    And what I can tell you is the suffering and the impact of this condition on their lives, whether you want to label it a disease or condition and I don′t—I′m not so concerned with the label but what they′re experiencing in terms of the suffering is real. And, I think, it′s important and this is why the agency has decided to look into this in much more depth.

    DR. MICHELE PEARSON: I think the—I don′t pretend to speak for all of the medical community, but as both a scientist and a physician, what I can say is, I think, that many of the providers who have seen these patients have been as challenged as the patients who are seeking care themselves. There is not textbook definition on this condition. There are many hypotheses about what might be causing and contributing it. And so it′s been a very frustrating journey, not only for the patients, but also for the providers who provide care to them.

    And, I don′t think it′s unique to this condition. I think this is the case for any unexplained illness where there really is limited scientific information about what it is and how best to approach it.
    The above commment do not sound dismissive to me. They seem to reinforce the need to understand what this is. Just because they do not identify a cause, does not mean they deny the condition exists. There are many illnesses for which a cause can not be identified–symptoms are treated when they can be. Because a disease is not well enough understood to be classified as communicable does not dismiss the disease. It may end up being communicable, contagious, genetic–who knows at this point! I certainly don’t claim to. I just want to point out that it is finally being taken seriously and should be. There is some evidence already from SUNY.

  20. Deborah Rubin Says:

    John Says:

    April 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm
    Ewan, once again, I find myself agreeing with you.

    One could take Deborah’s and Dr. M’s quotes, replace “glyphosate” with “penicillin” and “pigweed” with “staphylococcus” and get an article worthy of publishing by any hospital in the developed world.

    Resistance is not a new concept, nor is it restricted to pesticides. In fact, some argue that it is resistance that allowed the human species to survive the Plague.

    Ewan Ross Says:

    April 23, 2009 at 7:07 am

    I’m not an expert on weed management by any stretch of the imagination, but if the evolution of roundup resistance in these weeds makes them impossible to control, then roundup simply bought these farms more time. If they can be controlled by other more targetted means – then where exactly is the big problem? Obviously weeds themselves pose a huge problem to agriculture, but again, to tie this problem to GMOs or roundup use in particular misses the point entirely (although there is a good case to be made that ANY herbicide used without others in tandem is not a great idea in hindsight – but only as regards future ability to use that particular herbicide)


    My point would be that the “excessive” use of roundup with RR crops has hastened resistance by increasing exposure over huge areas and forcing selective pressure. I am not advocating the use of Roundup at all, but would rather see less used than more. The initial success of roundup is its eventual undoing as with all things.

  21. John Q Says:


    Thank you. Those are the commentaries I remember reading. I think they do a good job of putting the UCS report in the proper context.

  22. Dan Goldstein Says:

    On Morgellon’s disease: Equinimitas.

    Sir William Osler, first Chief of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, wrote a famous essay- Equinimitas- dealing with the equanimity appropriate to those caring for the sick. This essay is very much the product of its time (Osler was convinced that no woman could ever be a physician, and I am not endorsing that viewpoint!) but his words on equanimity itself are timeless- and Equanimitas is NOT what I am seeing in our discussion of Morgellon’s disease.

    The word “disease” has many meanings. In modern usage we tend to associate diseases with particular causes and to equate the discussion of causation with the diagnosis and treatment of disease. However- there are many diseases whose root causes are multiple or unknown and whose treatment is at best empirical- for example “essential hyprtension”.

    Disease is first and formost the sum of its parts- it is a dis-ease, a loss of comfort, wellbeing, and function AS EXPERIENCED BY THE PATIENT. The caregiver is best served by dissociating discussions of etiology (the causation of disease) and therapeutics (the treatment of disease) from the experience of disease. Failure to do so converts a dispute over causation to a dispute with the patient over their experience of disease. This is neither productive nor conducive to anyone’s “equinimitas”.

    I have taken care of a number of individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Morgellon’s disease, Chronic Fatige Syndrome, and other controversial conditions. Directing hostility at the patient for their suffering or pitting the individual patient’s beliefs about the origin of their disorder against formal criteria for causation is not productive exercise, and I would suggest that the level of hostility which has entered our discussion of Morgellon’s disease is unhelpful. Whether the cause, or even the fundamental nature, of the disorder is defined, I can assure you the disease is very real if you have it.

    As to the epidemiology of this disorder, I would point out that we have no good global data on cause, and that even if the disorder is associated with “good internet connections”, this may be the result of better recognition and reporting. You cannot hope to deconvolute the issues regarding incidence with the available data.

    In regards to agrobacterium, there are serious problems both with the nature of the data and the history of the investigator. Proper confirmatiory experimentation needs to be done to validate the original observation. However, I would point out that the presence of detectable agrobacterial DNA is not necessarily surprising on skin given the ubiquity of the organism, and that the data do not, as far as I can tell, indicate that the agrobacterial DNA purportedly detected had anything to do with genetic modification of crops. I would urge you to look very hard at the history of another organism, Haemophilus influenza- the purpoted cause of influenza in humans for decades- until it was realized that the bacteria are normal flora and that the disease was viral after all. I can assure you that DNA from strep, staph, clostridia, corynebacterium, etc., etc. are all to be found in skin as well.

    The criteria for establishing an infectious cause of disease- Koch’s criteria- are well established and have not come anywhere close to being met, and there is simply no convincing evidence that agrobacteria play any role in Morgellon’s disease.

    The cause of this disorder will remain controversial. Personally, I tend toward the camp that places this among the psychiatric disorders, but will keep an open mind on the subject if someone can provide meaningful data as to probable cause… but will reiterate that no even remotely persuasive data have been produced suggesting a relationship to crop biotechnology.

    As to the patients with this disorder, I will follow the advice I keep on the wall of my office- the Prayer of Maimonides: Inspire me with love for my art and for thy creatures, and in the afflicted let me see only the sufferer.

    Equinimitas- DAG

  23. Ewan Ross Says:

    Deborah – I still fail to see why it matters to anyone (other than the producers of roundup) that roundup resistance has either increased, or has the capcity to increase due to use of roundup, given that the alternative is to not use roundup (in which case all weeds essentially behave as if 100% resistant)

    If all weeds became resistant to all herbicides tomorrow surely this would be seen as a great thing by the entire green movement?

    I guess I am missing the point of posting about increasing incidence of roundup resistance given that it is a known phenomenon which is dealt with already by numerous techniques, and given that weed infestation causing abandonment of land is no new thing (pre-dating the introduction of GM crops).

  24. Deborah Rubin Says:

    The point is that the whole basis for using rr crops in tandem with rr was to decrease farmers’ exposures to older herbicides that Monsanto PR people on the blogs have called more toxic, persistent, etc. If what I am calling an “overuse” of roundup now makes higher doses necessary to combat resistance along with the use of other aforementioned herbicides and even tillage–what have we gained? What are higher doses of roundup and atrazine etc doing to the soil and water and living creatures–ourselves included? How has this contributed to sustainable farming methods? How has this lightened our agricultural footprint? How is this cost effective? Do you consider this sustainable?

  25. Ewan Ross Says:

    So the original RR crops in tandem with Roundup worked. For over a decade. Reducing the uses of other more toxic persistent herbicides. Even in a worst case scenario that is what we have gained. 10+ years of reduced exposure to older herbicides.

    The roundup ready system still works for the majority of weeds, in the majority of farming operations – and with multiple HR trait stacks coming soon, the problems of resistance will be better dealt with.

    Use of older herbicides must not be confused with equivalent use of older herbicides – the quantities used are not the same. In an ideal world I guess zero herbicide use would be the goal of all farming operations – but in the non-ideal world we find ourselves in I think it is better to use reduced levels of the older herbicides in conjunction with roundup, than using previously used levels of the older herbicides without roundup. Again that might be a matter of opinion but given the systems we work with are going to use some form of herbicidal input it still, to me, appears the best option.

    Is this cost effective? It must be. Or farmers wouldnt use roundup tech still. Bottom line being that as soon as roundup ready tech combined with roundup is not economically valuable to farmers – they wont use it.

    Is this sustainable? I’d say over the next 20 years use of RR+roundup only would be unsustainable, through a constant research effort on behalf of Monsanto, and companies like Monsanto, newer better herbicides and herbicide resistant traits will come on line which will maintain a level of sustainability in herbicide useage which is far superior to the regimes used prior to the introduction of HR traited crops (again restricting this to a discussion around agriculture where herbicides are used as an input)

  26. Chris Says:


    Actually, as i understand it, most cases of glyphosate resistant weeds have been found to be caused by growers applying less than the label recommend amount of herbicide. So much like the penicillin example, it’s under use that causes the resistance. Always finish your prescription unless directed otherwise by your doctor, and always follow label instructions when applying crop chemicals.

  27. Deborah Rubin Says:

    Chris, do you have any evidence or data on underuse of glyphosate being the main cause of the resistance?

  28. Marie Says:

    Actually, according to this study , most cases of glyphosate resistant weeds comes from 1) Species that tend to form resistance to herbicides anyways 2) Continued and frequent use of glyphosate period and 3) Higher glyphosate rates needed. They say it is unknown if under use contributed, though they do advise to use it properly.

    Also, “The appearance of herbicide-resistant weeds is usually linked to repeated use of the same herbicide or several herbicides from the same group (same site of action). For example, continuously applying only glyphosate for weed control in Roundup Ready cotton has resulted in the selection of glyphosate (Group 9) resistant Palmer amaranth. Weed management programs that use herbicides from different groups will delay or prevent the selection of herbicide resistant weed populations.”

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