Despite industry claims to the contrary, the adoption of genetically engineered crops has led to dramatic increase in pesticide use over 13 years, according to a new report.
The report, released by the Organic Center, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Food Safety, put the increase at 318 million pounds, even taking into account the 64 million pound reduction in insecticides for GE corn and cotton. The report was written by Organic Center chief scientist Charles Benbrook.
Farmers, who have planted ever more acres with GE crops, are also battling a rising tide of herbicide-resistant superweeds, which is leading to rising pesticide applications, new seed development, and higher costs.
The price of GE seeds has risen precipitously in recent years, and the need to make additional herbicide applications in an effort to keep up with resistant weeds is also increasing cash production costs.As an example, corn farmers planting “SmartStax” hybrids in 2010 will spend around $124 per acre for seed, almost three times the cost of conventional corn seed. In addition, new-generation “Roundup Ready” (RR) 2 soybean seed, to be introduced on a widespread basis next year, will cost 42 percent more than the original RR seeds they are displacing.