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Genetically modified crops - February issue

Nick Maclaren nmm1 at cus.cam.ac.uk
Sun Feb 7 15:58:00 EST 1999

In article <36BDB29E.64816214 at mr.net>, David Kendra  <dkendra at mr.net> wrote:
>May I inquire which company's advertising leaflet suggested using increased levels of
>herbicides?    I am unfamilar with this claim.  Farmers that I work with typically want
>to apply as little herbicide as possible because the additional cost directly impacts
>their profitability.  I also question your comment  "Remember that  the WHOLE point of
>this particular technique is to enable plants to be sprayed with herbicide while they are
>growing, which is not a practical option at present (in general.)"  - Who says this is
>not a practical option at present?  The Nature article?  Can you please cite volume and
>issue number, I must have missed that claim.

Monsanto have claimed that their "Roundup ready" varieties allow the
use of glyphosate to control weeds where this is not feasible with
other varieties, because it harms the crop.  This is an increased
use of that herbicide.  The agricultural chemical scientists that I
know despair of farmers' common belief that "more is better."  When
I said that I THINK the source was Nature, you may deduce that I cannot
remember the number and page.

>> I did not claim that glyphosate persists in the crop - I said that there
>> is little evidence to show that it DOESN'T.
>Have you done a thorough literature search to check this claim? I suspect that
>information was required for registering the transgenic technology and may be included in
>the technology packet that Monsanto submitted to the USDA and EPA.  Just a thought.

Not a very good one, I am afraid.  Until these varieties were developed,
glyphosate was effectively not used ON growing crops, so there can be
little evidence from the past.  And the record of the companies and
governments biassing research and data is abysmal - so bad as to be
grounds to distrust anything in those packs.

>> Until these new practices
>> were introduced, glyphosate was effectively not used on any food crop
>> It is heavily used for keeping the ground clear around shrubs and
>> trees, for clearing ground preparatory to planting, and so on - but
>> NOT on the leaves of growing crops.  The new techniques are being
>> foisted on us without even the most elementary checking for expected
>> problems (let alone unexpected ones.)
>Again, are you certain of this or are your claims just hearsay?  Did you ever read any of
>Monsanto's documents supporting their patent applications?

Eh?  Are you seriously saying that existing, non-Monsanto food crops are
routinely sprayed with glyphosate as they are growing?  Which?

>> On the matter of 'elsewhere', there was a flame war on some UK group
>> a year or so back, with some people claiming that it did not persist
>> and others claiming that it did.  One of the latter provided an actual
>> reference, which I looked up, and it does seem that glyphosate persists
>> in aquatic sediments for a period of at least years.  Hence run-off is
>> a very serious problem.
>I missed that reference, can you please repost it.  Thanks.

I didn't post it.  I am afraid that you will have to search for it

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computing Service,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Email:  nmm1 at cam.ac.uk
Tel.:  +44 1223 334761    Fax:  +44 1223 334679

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