[NAFEX] Revealed: how seed market is controlled by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow & DuPont
hangermayer at isp.com
Fri Oct 15 00:33:19 EDT 2010
"It's very common in this area for field crop growers to save some of
their seed for replanting themselves, and/or to sell to their neighbors."
I suppose "common" is a relative term, but I stand by my statement that
farmers haven't saved back seed for 50 years. I don't mean there aren't
anomalies (as there inevitably are for anything) but here's some general
"By 1960, the share of corn acreage cultivated with hybrid seed in the
United States had
reached 95 percent (fig. 2), and almost all open-pollinated (OP) corn
cultivated in the United States was replaced by hybrids by the 1960s
(Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 1999; Shoemaker et al., 2001, p. 9)."
"The commercial success of hybrid corn in the United States was followed by
such plant breeding advances as hybrid sorghum and improved varieties of
soybeans and cotton. The first commercial seed field of hybrid sorghum was
planted in 1955; by 1960, 70 percent of
the U.S. sorghum acreage was planted with hybrid seed (Airy et al., 1961, p.
145). Sorghum is now mostly grown from hybrid seed. Other vegetables,
including onions, spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage, are also grown from hybrid
seed (Emsweller, 1961)."
"while the replacements may indeed have "enormous genetic improvement
gained through painstaking research" if grown under the conditions under
which the research is conducted, they may nevertheless produce worse, not
better, when grown under the conditions of any given farm"
It's possible hybrids could produce worse on a given farm, but for all
practical purposes, they just don't (as it applies to row crops). Again I'm
sure there are some anomalies, and that may be your point, but I'm talking
about the big picture.
One thing worth mentioning is the huge upside potential of hybrids that I
don't think are offered by open pollinated seed. Some corn growers are
achieving 300 bu/acre corn. Do you know of anyone using open pollinated
seed with those yields? With 300 bushel corn a farmer could have a total
crop loss (which is very rare) every other year and still be profitable.
It was written:
"Would you rather plant a crop that has a gene coding for a bacterial toxin
targeted to impact one specific pest, or have the farmer spraying thousands
of acres with a pesticide that kills 'beneficial' insects as well as the
targeted 'problem' organism?"
"This statement makes it sound like gmo's don't need spraying. This is very
misleading to someone who is just trying to understand the issues. Many gmo
's are specifically designed to utilize spraying, 'Round-up ready' corn
being perhaps the most famous example. - from 'tin hats' to wool blinders."
Although many gmo's are specifically designed to utilize spraying, that
statement can lead to misunderstanding. For no till applications, Round-up
ready crops take less spraying than their traditional counterparts.
Additionally herbicides used on traditional crops are more harmful to the
environment and generally somewhat detrimental to the crop they are trying
to protect. While it is true there are now several weeds that have shown
resistance to glyphosate, it is still a very effective tool. Even if the
benefits of Roundup ready crops are eventually lost because of resistance
issues, benefits they've given for the last 15+ years have been significant.
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