Genetically Engineered corn

Steve Gilman sgilman at
Mon Mar 25 12:19:03 EST 2002

Hello all,

Phil from Iowa said:
Well I guess it is better to spray the sweet corn  seven to nine times
insecticide to keep the ear worn out of it than to have the ability to
plant a
corn n that doesn't have to be sprayed.  Isn't it a little bit odd that
organic growers can spray BT on crops but can't use BT corn.

	A few other factors worth considering:

	-- Corn ear worms are a part time pest that in some years don’t even show
up in fields, even in the Corn Belt. Bt corn is a full-time insecticide
(yep, the corn itself -- kernels, cob, leaves, stalk, roots and pollen --
where Bt is fully present in a heightened, more virulent form 100 percent
of the time in the field and for months or more afterward, living in the
soil. This is not economically OR ecologically viable under IPM or Best
management practices, let alone organic sensibilities.

	-- Through pollen, root exudates, etc. transgenic Bt can take on a life
of its own in the environment, other corn (including source landrace maize
varieties in Mexico) and the soil. This is just plain DUMB. The ecosystem
R’ Us.

	-- The Bt that organic (and many other) farmers use as a spray has been
effective for over 40 years. It only lasts for a few days in the field, a
key factor in resistance management. With widespread use of transgenic Bt
corn, resistance is now being discovered in Diamondback moth and there are
signs in other pests. The refugia theory of growing nearby conventional
corn varieties to lessen resistance pressure is unproven, unevenly
practiced and at best only forestalls the time when Bt itself will be
rendered totally ineffective. Organic farmers will lose a valuable tool
and conventional growers will have to jump into more toxic chemical
controls to do the same job. Consumers will ultimately consume a portion
of the toxicity in their/our food.

	-- Transgenic varieties are not necessarily genetically stable AT ALL and
mutations are not tested for in the field (now on millions of acres) or in
the gut of livestock or humans.

	-- Perhaps the best earworm control is cultural --
Rotation-Rotation-Rotation. Building a healthy soil with cover crops and
compost and rotating between a number of different crop families
(considerably easier for mixed veggie growers) is a proven method for
breaking insect and disease cycles. Conventional corn pests are often a
major problem of monoculture or simplistic corn/soybean rotations.

Steve Gilman
Ruckytucks Farm

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