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  • Brian Scott Scott's picture
    Brian Scott
    09.23.2013
    Rickinreallife, thanks for the kind words! I agree with you that the silver lining to what I would call the massive success of Roundup Ready crops is that we are now resetting the clock a bit. RR was and is still great on most farms, mine included. We need to get back to what I call Ag 101. When it comes to crops, herbicides, insecticides and so on we need to rotate all of them. In some cases we need to mix them up together! I get all kinds of industry magazines in the mail every month. You cannot pick up one of those publications now without reading an article about preventing resistance or building soils. Articles about cover crops seem to show up in most issues of every magazine I read now. I take this a sign of a shift in the way farmers will be doing things in say the next 10 years. I can see cover cropping and biotech working together and being mainstream several years down the road. Only time will tell. NUE is going to be a great technology. I won't speculate on how the price of fertilizer inputs will react if use goes down greatly, but in general it seems like a no brainer almost every time you can raise an equal or better crop with less inputs. I don't think there are many bad farmers our there now, but I think change is coming that will take us all to the next level of sustainability and stewardship. And if you've followed me for very long anywhere else online you'll know I believe precision ag tech is going to keep playing a bigger in being good to the environment.
  • Rickinreallife's picture
    Rickinreallife
    09.20.2013
    Brian -- I continue to be impressed with your insights. While many condemn GMO's as aiding and abetting unsound agricultural practices, which I don't dispute can be the case, I think one promising and perhaps ironic result of biotech traits that have been deployed commercially thus far is that a growing number of producers are utilizing biotech to reintegrate diversified sound agronomic practices. What you describe about your operation appears to be an example of that. I do not necessarily give the credit to Monsanto or other biotech companies for that development. While not necessarily advocating monoculture, I recall that a decade ago Monsanto and others were advising that integrated strategies were not necessarily to maintain the effectiveness of herbicide tolerance. Monsanto was also suggesting that emergence of resistance weeds would be slower with glysophate and perhaps several decades in the future if it did occur. I am wondering if you would agree that a silver lining to the emergence of resistant weeds is that has created a pragmatic necessity on the part of producers to deploy integrated soil and pest management strategies as opposed to relying on glysophate alone. While that may not have necessarily been an objective of seed companies when first commercially releasing biotech traits, in an interesting way, HT and insect protection traits are increasingly being utilized to diversify and expand crop rotations, integrate better tillage practices and incorporate cover crops and the like. There is currently a push to develop nitrogen use efficiency genetics. I have asked the question elsewhere, but there was a recent announcement of the results of a 2-year study where NUE plants outyielded their conventional counterparts by a 20-30% even at half the fertilizer application rate applied to the conventional varieties. Of course these results were achieved under controlled and ideal conditions, but even if we could achieve the same yield with a 1/3 less N application, how much of a game changer would that be for you personally? Obviously, it would be a nice reduction in your input costs to cut fertilizer expense by 1/3, but I am particularly interested in how this would influence the economic value of soil building strategies like the deployment of cover crop and perhaps green manuring? Do you believe producers will increasingly judge the value of future biotech traits that might come along in part on how well they complement practices that help build soil fertility?
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