New Study Shows Roundup Ready Soybeans Are Failing

New Report points out Roundup-Ready Soybeans Are Failing
(May 3, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) --

Contrary to the promises of Monsanto, farmers are applying more
herbicides to Roundup Ready soybean plants and reaping lower yields
from them compared to conventional varieties, according to a new
report by Dr. Charles Benbrook of the Northwest Science and
Environmental Policy Center in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The study, "Troubled Times Amid Commercial Success for Roundup
Ready Soybeans: Glyphosate Efficacy is Slipping and Unstable Transgene
Expression Erodes Plant Defenses and Yields," available at
<> uses recent USDA and
university research to update the Center's 1999 report on the same
subject. Many farmers have told Cropchoice about the extra herbicides
and lower yields that go along with growing Monsanto's
herbicide-resistant beans. Despite this, they're planting more Roundup
Ready soybeans -- 60 percent of this year's crop -- because the
technology makes weed management relatively easy. But what farmers
may not want to hear, and what this study reveals, is that relying on
Roundup to kill weeds in Roundup Ready soybean fields has led to their
becoming herbicide resistant. Increased herbicide use -- One must look
at the amount of herbicide growers apply per acre of soybeans to see
that Monsanto's transgenic varieties require more applications,
according to the executive summary of the report.
"More than a dozen soybean herbicides are applied at an average rate of
less than .1 pound active ingredient per acre. Roundup, on the other
hand, is usually applied on soybeans at about .75 pound per acre in a
single spray and most acres are now treated more than once," Benbrook
writes. "...Total herbicide use on RR soybeans in 1998 was 30 percent
or more greater on average than on conventional varieties in six states,
including Iowa where about one sixth of the nation's soybeans are grown.
RR soybean herbicide use was 10 percent or more greater in three more
states. Use on RR soybeans was modestly lower in five states."

Benbrook predicts that farmers will apply about .5 pounds more herbicide
(active ingredient) to the average acre of Roundup Ready beans than they
will to conventional varieties in 2001. "As a result over 20 million
more pounds of herbicides will be applied this crop year."

Yield drag in Roundup Ready Beans -- The report highlights research
linking the 5 to 10 percent yield drag in Roundup Ready soybeans to the
interaction of their genetics with environmental factors, including the
application of Roundup.

Herbicide resistance in weeds "There are two major factors on the plus side
of RR soybean trade-offs --weed management is simplified and soybean crop
injury is avoided. But troubled times lie ahead for RR soybeans because the
efficacy of glyphosate is clearly slipping in managing weeds and because
unanticipated yield penalties are surfacing in some RR fields..,"
Benbrook writes. To see the full report, go to

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