A report came out just the other day that the western corn rootworms has become resistant to the genetically modified Btcorn developed by Monsanto. The first five pages of google are filled with interpretations of this breaking news. This is not new news. Resistance is an ongoing issue. It’s not new to the GMO game. Before we panic, let’s get some logical facts straight before we spread the doom and gloom of resistant superbugs around the world.
First of all, Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis is used in organic farming as well. Without geeking out on the science, let’s just say Bt has many non-toxic applications to farming. http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/organic_farming.html ttp://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/bt-the-organic-caterpillar-control-that-works-naturally/ Second, the problem is not completely the GMO crop; it is the methods of farming we are currently using.
Crop rotation is the single most important method of pest control. Following that, soil health. Both these things are missing in many modern day fields. The drive for increased yields has caused some farmers to abandon their traditional ways. This loss of respect for the land and the abandoning of traditional farming methods is the problem and the reason why some western corn rootworms appear to have become resistant to GMO Bt corn.
Prior to the development of GMO Bt corn farmers were using pesticides. Large quantities of pesticides to battle these pest. Post WWII chemical warfare has been directed towards our food for the past several decades, and in many cases still is. What would you rather have Bt corn or tons of pesticides in your corn? GMO companies are well aware of the success and limitations of this technology. They know biology is smarter than they are. This said, there are some things I do not like about current corporate biotechnology practices but there are also many things I do not like about current farming practices in general.
As an organic farmer/gardener for over 25 years I know that when I have a bug outbreak chances are my soil is off. Soil Ph and nutrient content are vital for plant health. Moisture holding and “good bug” content are also vital. Making great soil is an art. Another thing I do if I have a large bug outbreak is not plant that crop the next cycle and sometimes harvest what I have and pull the current plants out. This of course is after all my “fruit and nut” organic pest management methods have failed which actually rarely happens. Farming wisdom is our lost cultural wisdom. We were feeding ourselves for thousands of years before biotech companies even existed. There really was not widespread famine and starvation because most people had – gardens.