Author: Merianne

Monsanto’s ‘less-volatile’ dicamba herbicide receives quiet EPA approval

© Denis Balibouse / Reuters The EPA has quietly approved the usage of Monsanto’s brand new herbicide, which the company says is less “volatile” than all alternative dicamba-based compounds that have caused massive crop damage, lawsuits and even bloodshed in the past. The US Environmental Protection Agency approved the usage of the dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, on Wednesday, although the event went almost unnoticed by the media and activists, who have been otherwise preoccupied with the US Presidential elections’ fallout. The company still needs to get approval from individual states before the product can be sold to farmers, but according to Monsanto’s spokesman Kyel Richard, it should be in the market by the start of next growing season. Dicamba is a decades-old herbicide, proven to be extremely volatile and drift-prone, vaporizing from treated fields and potentially affecting neighboring crops. Dicamba functions basically by increasing a plant’s growth rate to the point that it outgrows its nutrient capabilities and dies. The weed killer has seen a surge in usage this year, since Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seeds entered the market before XtendiMax. Monsanto introduced Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton in 2015 and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans were introduced earlier this year. Farmers had to use third-party older dicamba-based herbicides with Monsanto’s seeds, despite the company’s warnings. According to multiple reports, such activities caused a massive damage to off-target non-GM...

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Worm Woes: Bollworm Outsmarting Bt Cotton Trait

Emily Unglesbee DTN Staff Reporter 11/8/2016 | 11:08 AM CST ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Bollworms invaded the South this year — and they came hungry. “We had a tremendous bollworm population this year in soybeans and cotton and grain sorghum” in many areas of the state, said University of Arkansas Extension entomologist Gus Lorenz. “It was a rolling population that started in late June and went through July and August.” The intense pest pressure brought a low-lying problem to the surface: the slow decline in efficacy of dual-toxin Bt cotton against the bollworm, entomologists told DTN. “We’re seeing what most acknowledge is resistance to the Cry1Ac toxin,” said David Kerns, an entomologist at Louisiana State University, who recently conducted diet bioassays on Bt-resistant bollworms from the past two seasons. Bioassays done by another entomologist, Dominic Reisig of North Carolina State University, showed similar levels of resistance, Reisig told DTN. Cry1Ac is one of two proteins in both Monsanto’s Bollgard II cotton and Dow AgroSciences’ Widestrike cotton varieties. (Bollgard II also expresses Cry2Ab, and Widestrike varieties express Cry1F. Bayer’s TwinLink cotton expresses the proteins Cry1Ab and Cry2Ae, which act similarly to those found in Bollgard II). Kerns’ and Reisig’s tests confirm what Southern researchers have been observing for nearly a decade, said Jeff Gore, a Mississippi State University entomologist. Field data collected from Mississippi and Arkansas between 2005 and 2014...

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Monsanto in Marana: County’s Huckleberry wants to reduce tax burden for GMO Greenhouse growing corn and soybean

POSTED ON OCTOBER 9, 2016 BY THREE SONORANS Monsanto in Marana: County’s Huckleberry wants to reduce tax burden for GMO Greenhouse growing corn and soybean Biotech seed giant Monsanto and Pima County are negotiating a possible incentive package that would substantially reduce the property tax burden of a planned Monsanto greenhouse in the Avra Valley. The basis on which the greenhouse parcel’s tax bill is determined would be reduced by two-thirds under the proposal. A statewide tax research group opposes such incentives as unfair to other taxpayers, but County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry says that in the long run, business incentives can reduce other taxpayers’ burdens. The new business, in this case Monsanto, would still bring in significant additional tax revenue. The Arizona Tax Research Association says, however, that the state should lower tax-assessment ratios for all property owners rather than give some companies tax breaks, which it calls picking “winners and losers.” An environmental activist group, Rising Tide Tucson, has announced it will fight tax breaks for Monsanto. Source: Monsanto could get big tax break to locate in Tucson area | Government and politics |...

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