Of course glyphosate is toxic! It is a herbicide after all – the whole point of glyphosate (G for short in this post) is to kill unwanted plants. Like all chemicals, including water and salt, G is going to be toxic to animals (including humans) at some dose. Compared to other herbicides, though, G is a pretty safe option for killing weeds. Don’t take my word for it, check out the Glyphosate Technical Fact Sheet from the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State. G’s relative safety is one reason why it’s become so popular.
One interesting use of G is to dry wheat before harvest. To help reduce levels of toxic fusarium fungus on wheat, it is good to harvest the wheat as early as possible but you can’t harvest it until it’s dry. So G is used to dry (aka kill) the wheat plants so the grain can be harvested. As long as the G is sprayed after the plants have fully matured, the G won’t be moved from the plant into the seeds. Here, G is actually helping farmers prevent a legitimately scary toxin from getting into the food supply. Want to learn more? Check out this video: Wheat School- Timing Pre Harvest Glyphosate Application In Wheat.
With G being used not only as a herbicide but also as a drying agent, and not just in our lawns but on our food, should we worry about our safety? In short, no.
Supreme Court rules for Monsanto in genetically modified soybean case
The Supreme Court agreed with Monsanto on Monday that an Indiana farmer’s unorthodox planting of the company’s genetically modified soybeans violated the agricultural giant’s patent.
The court unanimously rejected farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman’s argument that he was not violating Monsanto’s patent because the company’s pesticide-resistent “Roundup Ready” soybeans replicate themselves. Justice Elena Kagan said there is no such “seeds-are-special” exception to the law.
“We think that blame-the-bean defense tough to credit,” Kagan wrote. “Bowman was not a passive observer of his soybeans’ multiplication; or put another way, the seeds he purchased (miraculous though they might be in other respects) did not spontaneously create eight successive soybean crops.”
She added: “Bowman devised and executed a novel way to harvest crops from Roundup Ready seeds without paying the usual premium.”
While the case was about soybeans, the broader issue of patent protection is important to makers of vaccines, software and other products. Corporations were worried about what might happen if the decision had gone the other way.
But, as the justices had indicated at oral arguments in the case, they believed Bowman’s practices threaten the incentive for invention that is at the heart of patent law.
If someone could copy Monsanto’s product, “a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention,” Kagan wrote. “And that would result in less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted.”
Field Day | Evaluation of Dismiss, Roundup & Salt for Weed Control in Seashore Paspalum
You are invited to a seminar/field day to see the results of 3-herbicide tests involving Dismiss, Roundup and salt on goosegrass, crabgrass, postrate spurge, creeping indigo, dollarweed, horseweed, nutsedge, and purslane in a seashore paspalum lawn. Although the results were inconsistent, you may still find the information useful and interesting.
Date: March 28, 2013 (Thursday)
Time: 10:45 to 12:00 pm
Place: UH-Maui College (UH-MC) Agricultural Greenhouse & Lawn. Across the Maui Arts & Cultural Center near the recycling center on Wahine Pi’o Avenue. Park in the lot next to the new science building with the vertical windmills on its roof top.
Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture Pesticide categories will be offered for categories 1a, 3, 6 & 10.
Deadline to register is March 27 (Wednesday) to reserve your handouts for this event. You can register by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the Cooperative
Extension Service at 244-3242 x230. Please provide your name, company & telephone number should we need to contact you of any changes to this event.
Mahalo to: Ann Emmsley and William Jacintho of UH-MC for making this test and field day possible.
High court to hear farmer, Monsanto seed dispute
WASHINGTON » The Supreme Court agreed today to hear a dispute between a soybean farmer and Monsanto Co. over the company’s efforts to limit farmers’ use of its patented, genetically engineered Roundup Ready seeds.
The justices said they will hear an appeal from Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, who is trying to fend off Monsanto’s lawsuit claiming Bowman made unauthorized use of the seeds.
Monsanto’s patented soybean seeds have been genetically engineered to resist its Roundup brand herbicide. When Roundup is sprayed on a field, the product will kill the weeds without harming the crop.
The Obama administration urged the court not to take the case and warned that the outcome could affect patents involving DNA molecules, nanotechnologies and other self-replicating technologies.
Monsanto has a policy that prohibits farmers from saving or reusing the seeds once the crop is grown, ensuring that farmers have to buy new seeds every year.
Bowman used the patented seeds, but also bought cheaper soybeans from a grain elevator and used those to plant a second crop. Most of the new soybeans also were resistant to weed killers, as they initially came from herbicide-resistant seeds, too. Bowman repeated the practice over eight years. Monsanto sued when it learned what he was doing.
The company has filed lawsuits around the country to enforce its policy against saving the seeds for the future.
Bowman’s appeal was among seven new cases the court added today to its calendar for argument during the winter.
The justices also will consider whether a government’s refusal to issue a development permit can amount to “taking” private property for which the owner must be paid.
Herbicide Field Day on Goosegrass Control
To: Golf Course & Landscape Industries
From: Norman M. Nagata, Extension Agent
A test was conducted at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course to evaluate the efficacy of several herbicide combinations with Roundup, Revolver, MSMA, and Sencor to control herbicide resistant goosegrass using 2 spray applications at 2 weeks apart. You are invited to a field day to observe the results of this test.
Herbicide Field Day on Goosegrass Control
Date: April 7, 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Place: Meet at Waiehu Golf Course “Service Entrance” (6th tee) next to Waiehu Beach Park & Baseball Field located at the end of “Lower Waiehu Beach Road” (MAP) at 11:15 am am. We will then car-pool to the test site at the 17th tee.
Monsanto Income Drops by Nearly Half
Executives of Monsanto told skittish investors on Wednesday that earnings per share would grow 13 to 17 percent in the next fiscal year and that the company was on its way to fixing problems in its seed business that have undermined the confidence of Wall Street.
The remarks, in line with some previous assurances by company executives, were made as Monsanto reported that net income for the year that ended Aug. 31 had dropped by nearly half from a year earlier.
“I believe we’ve taken steps to allow our company to return to growth,” Hugh Grant, the chief executive, told analysts and investors Wednesday on a conference call.
He said the seed business was going to offer “more products at more price points” to help regain the trust of farmers who have been put off by high seed prices and lower-than-expected yields for some products, particularly Monsanto’s new SmartStax corn.
Rural areas fear loss of crop Sugar job loss could devastate Idaho town, threaten co-op
By DAVE WILKINS
Farmers aren’t the only ones uncertain about the future of the sugar beet industry in the wake of a federal judge’s decision to ban the planting of Roundup Ready varieties.
The uncertainty extends to the rural communities where sugar beets are grown.
“If (seed companies) don’t have enough beet seed for everyone here, it will devastate this area. That’s our cash crop,” Randy Jones, mayor of Paul, Idaho, said in an interview.
Hundreds of people work at the Amalgamated Sugar Co. beet processing plant in Paul, a farm town of 1,000 people. The plant processes beets grown all over Southern Idaho, from the Treasure Valley to the Blackfoot area.
But a ruling by a federal judge in California on Aug. 13 makes Roundup Ready sugar beets a regulated crop again, meaning that it can’t be grown commercially.
Beet growers have grown Roundup Ready varieties almost exclusively the past two years because it provides superior weed control and thus higher yields. Now growers are faced with the prospect of converting back to conventional varieties, and it’s not clear how much of that is available.
Jones worries that a serious seed shortage could affect the local sugar factory and his town’s economic future.
Field Day–Evaluating Low Rates of Roundup Promax on Goosegrass Control
To: Golf Course & Landscape Industries
From: Norman M. Nagata, Extension Agent
An herbicide test using low rates of Roundup Promax was conducted on goosegrass that exhibited resistance to Revolver, MSMS, and Sencor at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course. You are invited to a field day to see these results at 13 weeks after treatment.
Date: July 30, 2010 (Friday)
Time: 10:45 am to 12:00 pm
Place: Meet at Waiehu Golf Course “Service Entrance” (6th tee) next to Waiehu Beach Park & Baseball Field located at the end of “Lower Waiehu Beach Road” at 10:45 am. We will then car-pool to the test site at the 17th tee.
- 11:00 – 11:15 am Overview of goosegrass control
- 11:15 – 11:35 Roundup Promax & experimental protocol
- 11:35 – 12:00 pm Observe & discuss Roundup results on goosegrass & common bermudagrass
Recertification credits will be offered for:
- Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture Pesticide categories 1a, 3, 6 & 10
- Golf Course Superintendents Assoc. of America
Deadline to register (and to apply for recertification credits) is July 29 (Thursday).
You can register by contacting email@example.com or by calling the Cooperative Extension Service at 244-3242 x230. Please provide your name, company & telephone number should there be any changes on this field day.
This project was partially supported by Monsanto Company and the County of Maui.
Mahalo to Ron Kubo, Superintendent at Waiehu Golf Course for making this test possible.
Agribusiness Bulls Led to Slaughter | TheStreet.com
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Through the first months of 2010, the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF(MOO) has been punished as a storm of bad earnings reports and sliding food prices pressures the fund below its 200-day moving average, but this slide may not be over.
At the close of 2009, MOO was lauded by many as the go-to fund for investors looking for a chance to play a fertilizer industry turnaround in 2010. At the time, the global economy was well on the road to recovery and growth forecast in China’s markets was seen as a catalyst for food demand. In order to keep hungry mouths fed, farmers would need to step up yields, providing the fertilizer industry with an ideal window for growth.
Agricultural chemical companies make up more than 45% of MOO’s total portfolio, and with Potash of Saskatchewan(POT) and Mosaic(MOS) in the top-10 holdings, MOO appeared well equipped for any such windfall.
Unfortunately the first months of the year have passed with no such boost. Although names including Terra Industries(TRA), CF Industries(CF), Bunge(BG) and Vale(VALE) grabbed headlines when M&A activity heated up early in the year, any benefits from their respective deals have long been wiped away as investors focus on debt issues coming to a head in the eurozone and economic tightening in China.
Rather than living up to the optimistic forecasts for the fertilizer industry, POT and MOS have tumbled 6% and 19%, respectively, in 2010. Once bright, MOO’s future is now clouded in uncertainty.