Fitness of herbicide resistance genes revisited

Figure 2 from Giacomini et al. (2014)

Last August, an article was published in New Phytologist that claimed a transgene added to rice could increase the fitness of a weedy relative. The paper was covered in the media pretty widely. When I read the paper, I didn’t think the authors presented nearly enough data to support their conclusions. You can find my […]

Historical Perspective on the Importance of EDRR

Prevention, early detection and expedient control of new invasive plant populations are crucial components of a high-leverage strategy in a landscape-scale invasive weed management program. Such a strategy is largely dependent on thorough and current knowledge of invasive weed distribution in an area. Weed managers may be unable to prioritize search areas or adequately develop […]

The “failure” of biotechnology to increase crop yield


For some reason, over the last few days I’ve heard a lot of people criticizing GMOs for not increasing crop yields. This criticism certainly isn’t new. I don’t really understand the reason for the sudden resurgence of this claim, but it does provide an excuse to address the topic with some actual data. GMOs can claim […]

Are herbicides responsible for the decline in Monarch butterflies?

Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeds on a milkweed plant

The monarch butterfly is in bad shape. The number of monarchs returning to their overwintering sites in Mexico has been declining steadily for at least a decade. The consensus suggests there are several reasons for this decline, including loss of their overwintering habitat and unfavorable weather patterns. But the purported cause of monarch decline that […]

Does the debate about genetically modified food matter?

Sugarbeet field

Over at Grist, Nathanael Johnson has been writing an excellent series of pieces on genetically engineered crops, called “Panic-free GMOs.” The series as a whole has been excellent, and that is not just my opinion. Keith Kloor, another journalist who has often waded in to the GMO debate, said of Johnson’s Grist series: The overwhelming consensus […]

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 2,4-D Resistant Corn and Soybean Released


USDA-APHIS has just released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean. The 2,4-D resistant crops were developed by Dow AgroSciences using genetic engineering. The corn and soybeans will be marketed to growers as the “Enlist” weed control system. Crops with the Enlist trait will not only be 2,4-D resistant, but […]

Cotton growers continue to battle herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth

A new press release from WSSA was released a few days ago. The post is related to my recent post on cotton yields in the South. From the WSSA piece: “The current model simply isn’t sustainable,” says Stanley Culpepper, Ph.D., a professor in crop and soil science at the University of Georgia and member of […]

Large-scale impacts of herbicide-resistant weeds

Palmer amaranth

As I was updating information on herbicide resistant weeds for class this week, I wanted to find some hard numbers on the large-scale impact herbicide-resistance can have. Obviously, my first thought was to find information on cotton production in the South. Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth has been something of a poster child for the potentially devastating […]

Sugarbeet Production Guide Available


University of Nebraska Extension has recently published a new edition of the Sugarbeet Production Guide. The updated version is a 242-page, spiral-bound, full color publication with in-depth information about all phases of sugarbeet production. Every chapter of the Sugarbeet Production Guide has been updated, according to the publication’s technical editor, Robert Wilson, Weed Specialist at the […]