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Question

Gmo manufacturers claim their products will lower the use of pesticides. However, pesticide use is increasing due to bt resistance from pests and increasing populations of non-targeted pests. How do manufacturers of GMOs plan to combat the increased costs to farming resulting from higher costs due to decreased productivity and increased pesticide costs?

Submitted by: Doug Ittner_2


Answer

Expert response from Andrew Kniss

Associate Professor of Weed Ecology & Management, Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Wyoming

Tuesday, 08/20/2013 13:42

Planting of Bt crops has significantly lowered the use of insecticides in cotton and corn. After over a decade of widespread Bt crop use, it is not too surprising that some insect pest populations are now evolving resistance to this trait. Consequently, farmers may be using insecticides to combat these Bt-resistant pests. It is important to note, though, that Bt-resistant insects are not the only reason for using an insecticide in addition to Bt corn hybrids; some farmers use the two tools in combination to manage secondary insect pests and also to try to prevent resistance from evolving. While I cannot speak for the companies that provide pesticides and seed, many of them have a long history of providing cost-effective technologies to help farmers. Pest resistance to pesticides is not a new phenomenon. Today's farmers are savvy businessmen and businesswomen in addition to being skilled biologists, and they've been dealing with pesticide-resistant weeds, diseases and insects for many years. Industry, USDA, and university scientists are always studying innovative ways to manage pests, and I have no doubt that we will continue to find economical and environmentally friendly solutions to future pest problems.

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