Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Superweeds' linked to rising herbicide use in GM crops, study finds

Date:
October 2, 2012
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
The use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops -- cotton, soybeans and corn -- has actually increased, according to a new study. This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data.

Charles Benbrook has found that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops - cotton, soybeans and corn - has actually increased.
Credit: Image courtesy of Washington State University

A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops -- cotton, soybeans and corn -- has actually increased.

This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service. Benbrook's analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops on pesticide use.

In the study, which appeared in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and more than 85 percent of corn, are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant.

"Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent," Benbrook said.

The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, Benbrook's analysis shows, but over-reliance may have led to shifts in weed communities and the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers to increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate), spray more often and add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode of action into their spray programs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Brian Clark. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Charles M Benbrook. Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. -- the first sixteen years. Environmental Sciences Europe, 2012, 24:24 DOI: 10.1186/2190-4715-24-24

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "'Superweeds' linked to rising herbicide use in GM crops, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002092839.htm>.
Washington State University. (2012, October 2). 'Superweeds' linked to rising herbicide use in GM crops, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002092839.htm
Washington State University. "'Superweeds' linked to rising herbicide use in GM crops, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002092839.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins