The following is an excerpt of an article on the KMVT-TV website highlighting the use of genetically modified sugar beets.
You could say sugar-beet sugar runs through the blood of Luke Adams. “I grew up a sugar beet farmer,” Adams said. “My parents grew sugar beets, so I’m second generation sugar beet farmer, third generation farmer here in Idaho. He said he has seen the changes in growing firsthand, from irrigation to GPS harvesting. It’s all helped his job get easier.
But nothing has helped quite like the genetically modified seed. Adams said growers are spraying less herbicides, using less water and diesel, and they have better soil. On top of all that they have a lot more beets. Before genetically modified seeds, growers would yield anywhere from 25 to 30 tons of beets per acre. Now it’s closer to 45 tons per acre.“Still with real high sugar content,” Adams said.
This technology hasn’t just changed life for the grower but for the researcher. Don Morishita is another expert on sugar beets, or rather an expert on their number one threat. He’s a weed scientist at the University of Idaho, and he was brought on in 1990 to help growers with their biggest issue. “At that time the sugar beet growers considered weeds as their number one pest problem,” Morishita said. He saw the transition from conventional sugar beets to GMO sugar beets, and he confirmed what the grower said: It changed everything. “They went from having to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort and resources controlling weeds in sugar beets to it becoming very simple for them,” he said.
That means his job has changed a little, but there’s still plenty to do.
To read the entire article, please visit the KMVT website.