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A controversial new biotech corn created by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical,, will be delayed at least yet another year as the business awaits regulatory approval amid opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials.
Dow AgroSciences officials said Friday that they now expect the first sales of Enlist for planting in 2014. Previously officials had set the 2013 planting season as a target, but U.S. farmers are already acquiring seed for planting this spring, and Dow has nevertheless to secure U.S. approval for Enlist.
Dow desires to roll out Enlist corn, and then soybeans and cotton to be used in mixture with its new Enlist herbicide that combines the weed-killers two,4-D and glyphosate. The Enlist crops are genetically altered to tolerate remedies of the Enlist herbicide mixture. The hope is that Enlist will wipe out an explosion of crop-choking weeds that have turn out to be resistant to glyphosate alone.
Opponents have bombarded Dow and U.S. regulators with an array of concerns about Enlist, which is intended to replace Monsanto Co.’s profitable Roundup Prepared program. Genetically altered Roundup Prepared corn and soybeans now dominate the U.S. corn and soybean marketplace.
But as Roundup Ready crops have gained reputation, millions of acres of weeds have developed resistance to Roundup herbicide, causing farmers to use greater quantities of Roundup and other herbicides to attempt to beat back the weeds.
Critics warn that adding much more herbicides to currently resistant weed populations will only expand and accelerate weed resistance. Some have likened the problem to a “chemical arms race” across farm country.
“Weed resistance to chemical herbicides is 1 of the greatest issues farmers now face, and that is a direct outcome of converting so a lot of our farmland to herbicide-resistant GE (genetically engineered) crops,” stated Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network. “We need to have to get out of this futile chemical arms race quickly.”
Earlier this month, Kansas State University scientists stated they have identified evidence that some a lot more weed varieties have developed resistance to glyphosate. Researchers said they sprayed two widespread weed sorts, Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, with up to four instances the common field use for glyphosate and the weeds would not die.