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GE crop farmers need weed control skills

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by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Apr 13, 2010
U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered crops can realize substantial economic benefits, but they should also be aware of weed technologies they use.

A report from the National Research Council says GE crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate -- a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers -- could develop more weed problems as weeds evolve their own resistance to glyphosate. That, scientists said, means GE crops could lose their effectiveness unless farmers also use other proven weed and insect management practices.

The researchers said their report provides the first comprehensive assessment of how GE crops are affecting all U.S. farmers, including those who grow conventional or organic crops.

"Many American farmers are enjoying higher profits due to the widespread use of certain genetically engineered crops and are reducing environmental impacts on and off the farm," said Portland State University Professor David Ervin, who led the study. "However, these benefits are not universal for all farmers. And as more GE traits are developed and incorporated into a larger variety of crops, it's increasingly essential that we gain a better understanding of how genetic engineering technology will affect U.S. agriculture and the environment now and in the future. Such gaps in our knowledge are preventing a full assessment of the environmental, economic and other impacts of GE crops on farm sustainability."




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