GENET archive


9-Misc: Monsanto advertisment belittles risks of glyphosateresistant weeds

genet-news mailing list

-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  What, Me Worry?
SOURCE: Iowa State University, USA, by Bob Hartzler
DATE:   May 1, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

What, Me Worry? (1)

Monsanto recently mailed a flyer to dealers/farmers that outlines
Monsanto's perspective on glyphosate resistance. The title of the flyer
is 'MANAGING WEED RESISTANCE', but the focus of the piece reflects Alfred
E. Neuman's philosophy on life: 'What, Me Worry?'. The bulletin
emphasizes the well documented fact that the potential for glyphosate
resistance is less than that of other herbicides, stating that only two
weed species have developed resistance to glyphosate in the U.S. after 28
years of commercial use. Because of these facts, Monsanto suggests that
farmers need not consider resistance in developing weed management
programs. The bulletin implies that as long as full rates of Roundup are
used, resistance will not be an issue (Dead weeds don't produce seeds).
While the bulletin doesn't come straight out and recommend planting
continuous Roundup Ready crops (i.e. RR soybeans followed by RR corn),
this is strongly implied. A testimonial by a northern Iowa farmer states
that five years of continuous RR crops has not led to any problems with
weed escapes or resistance. Monsanto provides data indicating an economic
advantage to RR crops, and suggests it is a poor economic decision to
reduce net returns while trying to prevent something that may or may not

In addition, the bulletin states that resistance is 'easily and
economically managed'. While it is true that we have numerous
alternatives in corn and soybean to help manage resistant weeds, I think
this attitude towards resistance is misguided. I'm sure many grower's in
southern Iowa would state that controlling ALS-resistant waterhemp prior
to the introduction of RR soybeans was far from easy and economical, and
I knew many Pennsylvania farmers who felt the same way about triazine-
resistant pigweed and lambsquarter in the 1980's. When glyphosate
resistance develops in Iowa, there will be some cost to those growers who
must deal with these resistant biotypes.

The fact that the potential for resistance to glyphosate is considerably
less than that of most herbicides is well substantiated. While it is true
that only two species have developed resistance to glyphosate after 28
years of commercial use in the U.S., I feel this is a misleading
statement. In Iowa and most of the Corn Belt, glyphosate has only been
used in a manner that places significant selection pressure on our major
weeds since the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans in 1996. The
current use pattern of glyphosate in the Corn Belt places heavy selection
pressure on weeds, and most weed scientists acknowledge that the
appearance of resistance is very likely. Increased adoption of a
rotations relying solely on RR crops will greatly enhance the rate that
resistance develops. Because of this, we feel it is best to develop long-
term weed management plans that reduce the selection pressure placed on
weeds by any single herbicide, including Roundup.

(1) Alfred E. Neuman is the feature character of Mad Magazine, and is a
copyright of Warner Brothers.

Acknowledgement: I appreciate the diligence of the Missouri dealer who
FAX'ed me this promotional piece.

Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist,
Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

For more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985


to read and see more about U.S. herbicide ads go to:

Herbicide Ad "Hall of Shame"

by Bob Hartzler and Brent Pringnitz

The promotion of integrated weed management systems and judicious use of
herbicides has been the foundation of our weed science extension
programming at Iowa State University.  Every so often an advertisement
appears in one of the farm journals that goes against everything we try
to promote.  This page will include a collection of ads contrary to
integrated weed management. 

Inclusion of an ad in this section does not imply that the product is not
reputable, just that we disagree with the philosophy of the advertisement.