Top Corn Pest Is Developing Resistence To Corn Plants Bred To Kill It

Date posted - July 28, 2013

corn rootworm damageRural Iowa — Some Iowa corn growers who planted a genetically-modified variety called B-T corn are finding their plants no longer resist corn rootworms — and some crops are being badly damaged. Darwin Bettin, who farms in northwest Iowa’s Sac County, says he’s used B-T corn for a decade and it’s always kept away the pests, until now.

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(As above) “I could see corn laying down in my field and none of my neighbors fields,” Bettin says. “I was old enough, I told my wife, if I didn’t know better, that looks like rootworm damage.”

Since the corn was bred by Monsanto to resist rootworms, farmers didn’t have to use pesticides. Now, some are resorting back to chemicals as the insect has developed a resistence to the B-T corn. While the trend is a setback for farmers, it’s a boon for farm chemical makers like Philadelphia-based F-M-C, where spokesman Aaron Locker says profits are up.

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(As above) Locker says, “FMC reported a 9% increase in first quarter sales in its agriculture solutions business and 20% increase in fourth 4th quarter sales.”

That’s due in part to the resistance in corn rootworms. Bettin lost half his crop to rootworm damage and says his local seed dealer refunded some of his money, but not Monsanto.

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(As above) Bettin says, “As much money as those companies have made off of us selling us those traits over the years, I think they’d be willing to step up to the plate when their trait doesn’t work.”

A spokesman for B-T maker Monsanto says the company is investing millions of dollars in research to bring new products to market. The federal E-P-A says it could restrict the future use of B-T seed, but Monsanto is working to introduce new varieties while encouraging farmers to rotate crops. ┬áRotating corn and soybeans disrupts the rootworm cycle because rootworms don’t eat soybean roots.

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2 Responses to “Top Corn Pest Is Developing Resistence To Corn Plants Bred To Kill It”

  1. Sioux Center Dad says:

    Repeat Corn On Corn will indeed cause more pressure from root worms on the corn plants.
    I think this is just the start of farmer’s realizing that all the GMO seeds they are paying premium prices for will soon cause other issues for them, like higher input costs. Farmer’s are seeing that right now with resistance to RoundUp in the weeds in their fields. This is causing area farmers and applicators to use an additional product in their tank mix called Callisto.

  2. Old Time Farmer says:

    The way I see it the GMO’s are no longer needed, if they ever were. Roundup alone won’t kill all the weeds any more, and the insect traits don’t do the job they were intended to do. The chemicals they are going to for backup have been around for 20 years or more. Why pay a tech fee for technology that doesn’t work?

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