|Consultant, Dan Steiner|
Are farmers getting disillusioned?
In the Midwest states like Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, farmers are baffled by a resurgence of corn rootworm that Monsanto technology promised to protect against. A lot of new insight comes from independent farm consultant Dan Steiner whose phone rings off the hook after a storm where farmers face blown over crops because rootworm larvae have destroyed the root systems.
Let it be known that, for awhile, biotech crops did seem to rescue farmers around 2003. Bt corn delivered results with initially satisfactory yields, pest control, and limited chemical use. This has been shortlived, however, and has created more issues than the original problem of decreased crop yields - but still more money for Monsanto in the way of increased insecticide use.
It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems. But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before. Companies like Syngenta or AMVAC Chemical that sell soil insecticides for use in corn fields are reporting huge increases in sales: 50 or even 100 percent over the past two years.
This is a return to the old days, before biotech seeds came along, when farmers relied heavily on pesticides.Likewise, where farmers are experiencing other super growths like resistant weeds, they have to spend more money on old-time agrarian measures to undo the original problem they were urgently trying to prevent.