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GMOs and Herbicides: it’s complicated – Control Freaks

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:44
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…Part of my motivation for undertaking this project was simply to look at the evidence in an attempt to answer the question: “Did adoption of GMO varieties have a positive or negative effect on herbicide use?” Admittedly, the publicly available data I used weren’t suited to answering this question exactly; but the overall trends, I think, still provide sound evidence on which to base some conclusions.

First of all, I found strong evidence that herbicide use has indeed increased in GMO crops (corn, soybean, and cotton), much as the critics have suggested. However, I also found that herbicide use has increased even faster in the non-GMO crops rice and wheat. This suggests that there is an overall trend for increasing herbicide use in all crops, irrespective of whether GMO varieties are available. It is even plausible, based on these data, that GMO crops have slowed the increase in herbicide use (though it is impossible to say for sure)…

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