Weekly Times Now (Australia)
By Lyndal Reading
May 4, 2009
**Note: Jeff Bidstrup is quoted at the end of the article. Bidstrup was the 2008 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award recipient.
A LEADING weed scientist has given a boost to the anti-genetic modification lobby by declaring that growing GM crops is leading to "superweeds".
Weed scientist Professor Stephen Powles said a new wave of glyphosate resistant weeds was "sweeping North and South America, triggered by the massive uptake of glyphosate resistant or Roundup Ready crops".
Yet a pro-GM farmers group says GM crops will lead to less weed resistance.
Prof Powles, of the Western Australia Institute of Agriculture, said at least eight major weed species had developed resistance to glyphosate as a direct result of the glyphosate-resistant crop revolution.
"Glyphosate has been successfully used without any major resistance problems for more than 35 years, primarily because it has been used in conjunction with other herbicides," Prof Powles said.
"However, the advent of glyphosate resistant crops means glyphosate is now almost the only herbicide being used across huge areas in the US, Argentina and Brazil."
Gene Ethics spokesman Bob Phelps said glyphosate resistant weeds would become an "unmanageable problem."
However, pro-GM Producers Forum national convenor Jeff Bidstrup said farmers using GM crops were forced to use chemicals other than glyphosate when rotating crops.
"GM crops will reduce the likelihood of glyphosate resistance because it forces people to use other chemistry to knockdown GM weeds," Mr Bidstrup says.