Farmers Weekly Article, 6 February 2009
US Growers 'Addicted' To Roundup Ready Crops
Says University Agronomist

"Roundup Ready genetically modified crops are addictive, according to Mohammed Khan, a sugar beet specialist from the North Dakota State University extension service. 'Once you start using Roundup Ready you become addicted very quickly,' he said during his Raymond Hull memorial lecture at Broom's Barn research station last week [in the UK]... It was part of his explanation why Roundup Ready sugar beet ... had taken off so spectacularly in the United States.... The coming season's crop was expected to be 90-100% Roundup Ready, he said. 'Its the fastest adoption of any crop.' That was despite, in the Red River Valley [which grows 50% of the USA's sugar beet], higher total production costs (see tables) of about $51/ha for the average grower....Monasanto research trials had suggested better weed control, and, therefore, less crop competition, could increase yields by 2-3 t/ha, he said. 'But that hasn't been our experience - we haven't noticed any differences."
Roundup Ready Crops Prove To Be A Hit In USA
Farmers Weekly, 6 February 2009

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Lower Yields

"David Richardson (Opinion, 20 February) hopes to grow GM sugar beet 'to be better able to compete'. However, perhaps Mr Richardson needs to read his copy of FW [Farmers Weekly] more carefully before endorsing GM crop technology, since your magazine reported (Arable, 6 February) very disappointing results on the first year of GM beet growing in America, citing data presented at Broom's Barn by US university extension agronomist, Mohamed Khan. In 2008 all ‘Roundup Ready’ GM beet seed was sold out, with Monsanto claiming 2-3 t/ha yield increases. But according to Khan, 'we haven't noticed any differences'. In fact the accompanying data table for America's biggest beet growing region showed a reduced yield of more than 1 t/ha for GM production. ... While herbicide applications were reduced [for the sugar beet], the cost saving was less than that of the technology, so that total costs were more than for conventional beet. Besides the serious implications for consumers, lower yields and higher costs do not add up to more a competitive approach to feeding the world. Khan described GM growers as 'addicted' to Roundup Ready and warned that glyphosate resistant weeds are 'not a matter of if, but when'. US Department of Agriculture data for other GM crops show that initial herbicide reductions steadily erode until eventually usage is higher than under conventional systems. Today GM crop-induced glyphosate resistance affects millions of acres in the US, with Monsanto even offering rebates to GM growers to deploy other herbicides. This is all embarrassingly at odds with the standard GM crop narrative. So it is perhaps not surprising that last year the USDA ceased collecting data on pesticide use."
Letter - GM beet results disappointing
Farmers Weekly, 13 March 2009

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