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Stink Bugs in Southern US Devouring Genetically Engineered Cotton

March 8, 2005

GM WATCH daily
http://www.gmwatch.org

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Since the adoption of Bollgard cotton in North Carolina, damage from
bollworms has decreased while stink bug problems have increased. (item 2)

While Bt cotton has reduced control costs for heliothine pests, "now
secondary pests -- plant bugs and stink bugs -- are eating our lunch," Bond
says. "I probably have $90 an acre in insecticide costs on Bt cotton. I
think that's too much, especially when I pay $32 right up front.

"Next year, I'd like to bump the non-Bt cotton acreage up a bit. I planted
my refuge cotton on the worst ground I have, and one 23-acre field of it was
some of the best cotton I picked this year." (item 1)

1.Stink bugs are eating Bt farmers' "lunch"
2.Cotton insect shifts documented in North Carolina
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Bruce Bond: High Cotton Winner
Elton Robinson
Delta Farm Press, USA, 5 Jan 2005
http://deltafarmpress.com/news/050105-bruce-bond/

PORTLAND, Ark. -- A pesky rain is falling on open cotton and the harvesting
help has gone home, but Bruce Bond isn't overly concerned. After all, the
harvest has gone well up to now, cotton is still hanging on the stalk, and
for Bond, there's not a better place to farm in the world.

Bond's optimism is refreshing, especially when it's so easy to get bogged
down by cotton's high-cost squeeze or a spell of bad weather. Bond's upbeat
approach to profitability, conservation and quality is why the Portland,
Ark., cotton producer was named the 2005 High Cotton award winner for the
Mid-South.

Bond... farms 1,760 acres of cotton and 135 acres of soybeans...

While Bt cotton has reduced control costs for heliothine pests, "now
secondary pests -- plant bugs and stink bugs -- are eating our lunch," Bond
says. "I probably have $90 an acre in insecticide costs on Bt cotton. I
think that's too much, especially when I pay $32 right up front.

"Next year, I'd like to bump the non-Bt cotton acreage up a bit. I planted
my refuge cotton on the worst ground I have, and one 23-acre field of it was
some of the best cotton I picked this year."
------
2.Cotton insect shifts documented in North Carolina
by Cecil H. Yancy Jr.
South East Farm Press, USA, 25 Oct 2004
http://southeastfarmpress.com/news/102504-insect-shifts/

Since the adoption of Bollgard cotton in North Carolina, damage from
bollworms has decreased while stink bug problems have increased.

Jack Bacheler, North Carolina State University Extension entomologist, along
with Extension agents, conducted the research from 1996-2003. Robeson County
Extension Field Crops Agent Georgia Love prepared and presented the research
at a recent field day.

The boll damage survey comes from randomly sampling 1,252 producer fields
over the eight-year period.

The percentage of damaged bolls from bollworms likewise decreased to 1.54
percent in the Bollgard cotton to 4.99 percent in conventional cotton.

The percent of damaged bolls from stink bugs increased three-fold. Bollgard
cotton had 2.96 percent damaged bolls from stink bugs compared with 1.04
percent for conventional cotton.

When comparing late-season insecticide sprays over the eight-year period,
Bollgard cotton received 0.87 sprays compared with 2.63 sprays for
conventional cotton.

Trends also suggest that stink bug damage is not showing a steady increase,
but rather about the same percentage each year.

The total boll damage during the eight-year period for Bollgard cotton was
4.65 percent; for conventional, 6.54 percent.

Over the past two years, North Carolina growers have planted 71 percent of
their acreage to Bollgard cotton.

Based on a 2002 study looking at beet armyworms in Edgecombe County, N.C.,
and comparing conventional, Bollgard and Bollgard II, Bacheler says it would
appear that sprays for caterpillars in Bollgard II cotton will be very rare
in North Carolina. "The potential for damage from bug pests will therefore
increase."



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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's
Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the
Ecological Farming Association www.eco-farm.org <http://www.eco-farm.org/>
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