Home > American Agriculture, Poor Science, State Regulations > Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Understanding Practices

Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Understanding Practices

Fresh Cut 2nd Cutting Alfalfa

Fresh Cut Alfalfa

Arguments against Roundup Ready alfalfa are flying around the internet like “flies on stink.” Ironically, that is pretty much what the arguments against GMO alfalfa are…”stink.”

We have been growing alfalfa for more than 30 years on our ranch, for personal use and for sale, averaging roughly 6.5 tons per acre on 130 acres.  I am very familiar with the attributes of alfalfa, its growing patterns, nutritive needs, life span and harvesting.

For some of those throwing out arguments against GMO alfalfa, it is very apparent that they have no understanding of the production of the forage. Here are two major points about alfalfa that need to be understood.

First, alfalfa is harvested multiple times each year, called a “cutting.” Depending on the region it is grown, a farmer can get anywhere from two cuttings in the far north, to twelve cuttings in areas of southern California and Arizona. Alfalfa is cut at the point when its total digestible nutrient (TDN) is at its highest, which occurs at a point when the plant is just starting to “bud,” or develop its flower. If alfalfa is cut when it has reached full maturity, it has poor feed value, is extremely course, does not retain leaf and is good for little more than bedding.

Second, depending on the region, an alfalfa stand remains productive, yielding at least six tons per acre, per year, for six to eight years and is then rotated out or inter-seeded with grass to maintain forage yield, orchard grass is common in our area. It is not inter-seeded with alfalfa, because by the second year, alfalfa plants release a natural inhibitor in the soil that prevents new alfalfa plants from establishing. It is for this reason that either grass is inter-seeded or the stand is plowed under and rotated to another crop for at least a year.

The argument offered that gene transfer will occur between GMO and non-GMO alfalfa is highly unlikely. Gene flow in alfalfa predominately occurs from insects carrying pollen from bloom to bloom. Except for alfalfa that is grown for seed, the plant is cut well before bloom even occurs.

In the unlikely event that pollen is transferred, it is even more unlikely that a “new” hybrid seed would germinate due to the natural inhibitor released by established stands.

I feel it is important for producers to have the choice of what variety of alfalfa to plant. Round-up-Ready Alfalfa is a variety that should be available and even presents the opportunity to more effectively control weeds and reduce the use of potentially environmentally damaging herbicides.

In my humble opinion, once the production of alfalfa is better understood by those not familiar with forage production, they too will agree that additional government regulations on alfalfa growers are unnecessary.

If FEIS option 3 is adopted, western growers, especially those in California, Idaho, Washington and Utah, would essentially be unable to even have a choice. The USDA needs to completely deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

For additional information on the Roundup Ready Alfalfa issue you may visit: Farm Weekly, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Terry Etherton Blog on Biotechnology, and Latham Seeds.

ADDED at 9:00 pm PST

I just became aware of an additional post, by Anastasia Bodnar, that does an excellent job of discussing many of the concerns being mentioned in the comments pertaining to seed and growing alfalfa for seed. Please give it a visit: http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/what-the-heck-is-alfalfa-anyway/

JUNE 2011 UPDATE

Following several requests for my thoughts on Don Huber’s allegations, both in his letter and a video that was sent to me, I have tried to succinctly put together some responses to some of his claims.

  1. In respect to the photos Huber used, what I see is a classic case of over spray in the headlands while making turns in the spray rig. Less commonly seen, with the utilization of GPS, but still occurs with some operators.
  2. In respect to the assertion of the aborting cattle, the cows had eaten spoiled wheat forage and as far as I know, there are not any varieties of GMO wheat being grown.
  3. Huber did not include any supporting data, did not cite any supporting data and did not identify anyone that he collaborated with to arrive at his conclusion of there being a “new pathogen.” The coordinator of the National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated that they were not familiar with any information or research regarding the alleged pathogen and had not been contacted by Huber.
  4. A report issued in April, 2010, that is posted online at  http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12804&page=R1, by the  National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, clearly refutes the assertion by Huber, that a “new pathogen” is causing serious damage to corn and soybean production in the United States.
  5. A question and answer document was recently prepared on how glyphosphate interacts with micronutrients, yields and materials in the spray solution in a Crop Protection Update: The Science of Roundup Ready® Technology, Glyphosate and Micronutrients.
  6. The Ohio State University Agronomics Crops Team put together an extensive list of citations in their March 11 – March 18, 2011 C.O.R.N. Newsletter: http://corn.osu.edu/newsletters/2011/2011-05/.
  7. Iowa State University Extension provided an informative discussion on “Use Facts to make Glyphosate and Glyphosate Resistant Crop Decisions here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2011/0225hartzler.htm.
  8. Purdue University Weed Science program has also prepared a very informative document on “Glyphosate’s Impact on Field Crop Production and Disease Development at http://www.btny.purdue.edu/weedscience/2011/GlyphosatesImpact11.pdf.
  9. In February, 2011, a friend of mine, broadcaster Trent Loos discussed Huber’s claims on his show. On this link his comments begin around the 2:00 mark: http://www.monsantoblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/loos3.mp3.
  10. Finally, my friend Anastasia Bodnar, has an excellent post on her blog addressing Huber’s claims at http://www.biofortified.org/2011/02/extraordinary-claims/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About these ads
  1. January 21, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Funny that Tim and I were discussing this exact topic when I saw your post on Twitter. As an organic dairy farmers we agree that the likelihood of established alfalfa fields cross contaminating is null. Our only concern is if an organic alfalfa seed plot and a RR alfalfa seed plot would cross contaminate. What this could mean is low seed stock availability and the inability for organic farmers to find affordable alfalfa seed. If that does happen you will be seeing a lot of soybeans planted for forage/protein. Monsanto assures us that there are strict policies on seed plots.
    Vilask says that we all should co-exists. I just wish a plan was place to protect organic farmers and not the “ohh you are just over reacting” attitude.
    But organic farmers have one thing going for them, if there is going to be a flush of hay produced, hay prices as a whole should come down. So plant away!! :)

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Emily, I completely understand your concern as it relates to plots specifically focused on seed production. I feel that some very simple restrictions could be implemented to address that specific issue, without incurring the significant negative impact on hay growers in general. One benefit to the management of forage crops, they are relatively easy to control when it comes to pollination, unlike some other crops. Thanks for your comment. :-)

  2. Johnnie Scott
    January 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Very good read. RR Alfalfa also provides producers with an additional option when it comes to crop rotation. Here in NC MT, where the crop spectrum is mostly wheat and barley, rotation is very important because these fields have seen the same chemistry for several years.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Good point John, thanks for sharing it.

  3. January 21, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Excellent points! While we don’t use RR alfalfa, it’s still nice to have the option to change our crop rotation and aid our pest manaagement plans.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      Thank you for commenting Shannon. :-)

  4. Kevin Hoyer
    January 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with your statments. As a certified crop advisor, who happens to also grow alfalfa for the family dairy, I know the chances of RR alfalfa field contaminating a neighboring field is unlikely.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      I appreciate your comments Kevin. Thank you.

  5. Rob Jones
    January 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I agree with your thoughts as far as it pertains to commercial production of alfalfa. Where I have major concerns is where seed production takes place. The companies growing this seed were running around 10% contamination in their own plots when they first started. This needs to be addressed immediately before other seed growers are negatively affected by this because much of the seed is produced in seed growing areas. Choice of the growers to buy seed of their choice works both ways and the biotech industry doesn’t have a very good record when it comes to contamination of other fields.
    Another potential contamination problem is with the RR growers having non-RR seed
    in their fields. When the glyphosate is applied and part of the crop dies, is it really worth the added expense of the technology?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 8:55 PM

      Thank you for your comments Rob. I do appreciate your concerns. Rather than try to address your concerns here in a reply, I would like to share a link to a post that I think is very well written and addresses in great detail your comments regarding seed. This is the post, by Anastasia Bodnar, written today as well: http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/what-the-heck-is-alfalfa-anyway/

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Rob Wallbridge
    January 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Your argument makes sense, as far as it goes. However, given the track record of the industry in preventing cross-contamination between GM and non-GMO seedstock, the idea that some “very simple restrictions” would be sufficient borders on laughable. Cross-contamination can occur not only in the field, but in storage, cleaning, conditioning, handling, and packaging. Studies have shown GMO contamination of lots of so-called non-GMO seed to be as high as 30%. Canadian farmers lost their European export market for flax recently because shipments were found to be contaminated with a GMO variety that had NEVER BEEN RELEASED on the market. Who was held liable for this? No one. Who compensated the farmers for lost markets? No one. Guess that trying to export to Europe was just a poor “choice”, eh?
    And with millions of acres of North American crop land now threatened by RR “superweeds” are people really still kidding themselves that RR alfalfa is going to reduce herbicide usage and effectively control weeds over the long-term? If you recall, RR weeds were another “highly unlikely” scenario when these crops were first released — some “experts” even called it “impossible.”
    I for one am glad that the conversation about restrictions and compensation has finally begun. GMO technology has stolen a number of “choices” from a lot of farmers, organic and not, for a number of years now, so please forgive my lack of sympathy now that there’s a tiny chance that the shoe will be on the other foot.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 21, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      Rob, I appreciate your comments. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think that you will find the post by Anastasia Bodnar, written today, addresses many of the points of concern that you bring up. She does an excellent job of explaining the issues surrounding seed, handling and growing alfalfa for seed. Here is the link: http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/what-the-heck-is-alfalfa-anyway/

      Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts on my post. Have a great weekend.

      • Rob Wallbridge
        January 22, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        Sorry, but Bodnar’s post does nothing to address my concerns. As the son of a pedigreed seed grower and as someone who has grown certified organic pedigreed seed myself, I am well aware seed production protocols. My point is that despite these protocols, there are several other possible means of contamination, and reality clearly demonstrates that it does happen.

        What no one seems to be talking about either, is my second point regarding the accelerating breakdown of this technology with the proliferation of RR weeds.

        Why risk widespread contamination of non-GMO seedstocks and the probable destruction of some markets (and perhaps other unintended consequences) for a technology that has already proven to be unsustainable and ultimately results in the opposite of its purported benefit (reduced pesticide usage)? Explain that to me, and we’ll be getting somewhere!

      • commonsenseagriculture
        January 22, 2011 at 6:27 PM

        Rob,

        Thank you for the additional questions.

        In regards to your first concern on contamination: Are there any protocols that you feel could be reasonably implemented to further minimize risk of contamination?

        On your second point, I have seen a few articles on the matter of “Super Weeds” but have not seen any convincing science to support the argument. We have roughly 400 acres of RR Alfalfa growing in our county, planted when the seed first came on the market and I know the farmers personally. There had been a major problem with Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii) and several varieties of thistle. Since planting and managing, the field is clean, their spray bills reduced by over 70% and there have been two years when no spraying was even necessary. They have yet to see any of the “super weeds.”

        For your third issue, perhaps the above narrative addresses that? Let me know.

        I personally believe that we can come up with solution that protects organic, traditional and bio-tech practices.

        Providing choices for farmers, that allow for efficiency, reduced input costs and longterm viability of the land is what is important to me.

        I appreciate your continued dialogue.

      • Concerned citizen
        November 27, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        Dear, Mr. Commonsence, person -
        You keep redirecting responses to websites, and such.
        What is your personal position on victoms of cross-pollination, and other unexplained methods of contamination of GMO free seed stock?

        Also, what is your position on the witch-hunt and litigation tactics against these victoms, who have to settle or lose their farm?

        Further, what is your position on the possibility you may affect one of your neighbor growers who wish to remain GMO free?

        I would like to know your personal common sense view-point, and approach with these issues.

  7. Rob Wallbridge
    January 24, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Hi again. The National Organic Coalition (http://www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/GEalfalfa.html) has published a lot of information on suggested contamination prevention protocols. Their final letter to Vilsack was released today, and should be on the site shortly. I don’t necessarily agree with all of their positions, but it’s a good starting point. To use a simple metaphor, if you had a neighbor on two sides of your farm with cattle who routinely trespassed on your land, damaging your crops, how would you feel if they announced that they were about to graze a herd on yet another side of your property, but not to worry, because they were going to work just as hard as they always had to prevent problems? And if that wasn’t good enough, well then maybe you ought choose to stop growing the crops that your neighbor’s cattle seemed to like so well?

    As for the superweed issue, it’s been receiving a lot of press in farm publications across corn and soybean growing areas — I’m not sure what kind of “science” you’re looking for? There’s been some pretty good discussion over at the Biofortified blog you linked to above on the superweed issue, as well as on the wisdom and perils of adding yet another RR crop to the arsenal.

    At the end of the day, we may just have to agree to disagree on the relative risks and benefits of this technology because in the broader context, I simply do not see it truly providing the things that you say are important to you. That’s never been my impression of biotech crops, and my sense is that we are starting to see the facade crumble in the case of GMO soy and corn. Why repeat the same mistake with alfalfa — we can do better!

  8. January 27, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    This just came across the USDA news feed.

    USDA Announces Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa

    http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/!ut/p/c5/lZG9DoJADIAfqQUODkcFAoTDY-BHWAwaJAQEB4Lh7cU4iIOmXpdL-vVr00IBS_Tl1NTl2Ax92cEBCuMYmWGailhTcBcr6Fuhp9i2rVgRQvasWBOJsxBBxLjv2ogBf-Xxy9si7L3hWkEOBX9bXC6spY8jNlLGKjIGeVfV5XmGpP-NGkhGmU63qmRU0q2Sk1HToKN0K6NbXbpV0q_l_rGsj1lvbXuxtG4SVWaO-mlefe8PlLrFaQ!!/dl3/d3/L0lJSklna2tra0EhIS9JTmpBQU95QUJFUkNKS28hLzRGR2dzbzBWdnphOTJBZyEvN19QOE1WVkxUMzFHN0xDMElDRUw5T09UMjBPNS9zYS5yZXRyaWV2ZWNvbnRlbnQ!/?PC_7_P8MVVLT31G7LC0ICEL9OOT20O5005915_contentid=2011%2f01%2f0035.xml&PC_7_P8MVVLT31G7LC0ICEL9OOT20O5005915_parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&PC_7_P8MVVLT31G7LC0ICEL9OOT20O5005915_navid=NEWS_RELEASE

  9. jay
    January 31, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Everyone assumes That the only reason To be imposed to roundup ready Alfalfa is the GMO verses Organic contamination argument I could care less what organic nut jobs out in california think the real issue in my opinion will be the proliferation of roundup resistant weed seeds mainly pigweed or palmer amaranth no other GMO crop do we try to grow 4 numerous seasons in a row nor do we harvest the whole plant and bale and ship it across country like we do with alfalfa every road side and ditch will be full of roundup resistant pig weeds this will be a wreck . I have grown alfalfa for as long as you or longer and currently put up 600 acres we average 6 to 7 cuttings here in oklahoma if you are a good manager we have ways to control weeds now. I know the farmers around here. And no way will they follow the label recommendations they will try and cut the rate back to make it cheaper and the next thing you know we have resistant weeds

    • patricia
      February 22, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      Jay,

      “I could care less what organic nut jobs out in california think the real issue …”

      Organic nut jobs? What are you a chemical nut job, or just a nut job that doesn’t know how to use commas or periods?

  10. jay
    January 31, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    I should clarify when I said “if you are a good manager ” I was in no way talking about you I was just talking in general

  11. Rob
    February 2, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Perhaps my small acreage presents no real argument here.
    However, I’ve been planting and rotating alfalfa on about 225 acres for going on
    35 years now, and average 6.5 – 7 per, every single year. AND I’m able to do this
    organically, although not certified and my few customers love it.
    I honestly can not understand why we need RR anything, unless of course those larger than myself have completely wasted their base soil composition.

    For those concerned about the eventual cross contamination (myself included) and (everyone knows that there will be some), I suggest they contact the Organic Trade Association and the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Might as well investigate what we can do to help ourselves now, in an effort to try to prevent a repeat of what has happened to our friends from the north and their flax.

    • Concerned citizen
      November 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      Rob, it is my hope that at some point, all the growers who wish to remain GMO free, will unite, and lobby, and litigate against the the unjust actions against victims of cross-pollination, or, unexplained pollination, since every GMO free feild is a sitting duck from the air, and drive-by’s, with questionable agenda’s.

  12. Jon Hookano
    February 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Why don’t you tell the truth. That Round up ready alfalfa makes you more money because yeild is greater. But the fact is that the GE modified round up resistent crop is not healthy for human consumption because it contains herbicides in its genes. Ross polinating is the second reason not to GRow it!!!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      February 28, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      Jon,

      First, for those of us in Northern California it is not a matter of increasing yield, but a matter of quality control. We have weeds that Round-Up is the most effective tool to control. When these weeds are growing in a stand of alfalfa, they negatively impact the quality of hay. Indirectly, it increases the yield when we are able to eliminate these weeds, as it decreases the competition for water and nutrients and allows for more to be utilized by the alfalfa.

      Second, Round-Up ready Alfalfa does not contain a herbicide in its genes. It contains a gene that is resistant to the herbicide.

      Finally, regarding the cross pollination, I discussed this issue in my post and there is another good discussion, by Anastasia Bodnar, on http://www.biofortified.org/2011/01/what-the-heck-is-alfalfa-anyway/

  13. Sad
    May 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    so you will use herbicides …… something like 23 million more pounds a year if the usda was right

    • commonsenseagriculture
      May 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      This year I will not use any herbicides. The fields are still weed free due to management practices. In fact, 1 alfalfa field could be certified as organic this year, however, the certification process in CA is cost prohibitive and does not pencil out. Thank you for commenting.

  14. Kevin A Young
    May 10, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    I have no other way of controlling Bermuda Grass and Nutsedge than with Roundup. RR Alfalfa seems to be the silver bullet for me. In Walla Walla we already have Super Weeds like the one’s mentioned above along with Kochia and Skeleton Weed. I have several tools in my bag but the cost per acre is too high compared to Glyphosate.
    My question is: How does RR Alfalfa compare to others? i/e stem,field life,fertilizer etc. And where is the best deal on seed? I am willing to give it a try.

  15. California nutjob
    May 12, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    http://player.vimeo.com/video/22997532?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&autoplay=1

    Please comment upon the information contained in this video by Dan Huber @ Purdue on the pathogen found in Roundup controlled soils which has made its way into the livestock food chain which is impacting herd fertility and propagation.
    Thx.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      June 5, 2011 at 8:15 PM

      Sorry it took so long. I finally had a chance to re-read his letter and view the video. I posted in the blog my thoughts and some great resources that address Huber’s assertions very well, in my opinion. Thanks for taking the time to post and ask questions.

  16. Roger Pelizzari
    June 27, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/06/24-4

    Published on Friday, June 24, 2011 by Huffington Post

    Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World’s Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say

    by Lucia Graves

    • commonsenseagriculture
      June 28, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      You are more than welcome to share links and your personal opinions. However, full dissertations by third parties are not necessary. Readers are welcome to visit the link. I feel most of these points, mentioned by Ms. Graves have been addressed either in my post or the links that I provided. I invite you to share your thoughts on the matter.

  17. Kevin A Young
    June 28, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    We have been using Roundup for well over 30 years now and it has not tied up in the soil or caused birth defects or sterilization in any of our cattle or horses. That guy in the video is a fraud right up there with Al Gore.
    I found my RR alfalfa here locally but it cost me $7.00 a pound. I am going to start with a 5 acre patch to see how it performs.

    • Concerned citizen
      November 27, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      Hopefully there are no nearby growers who wish to remain GMO free, whom you will cross pollinate with to destroy their family seed stores, and then have “you know who” come sue them and put them out of business for the unregistered use of their GMO seeds.

  18. August 7, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    As a consumer, I am happy to read the risk of GMO alfalfa contaminating non GMO alfalfa is less that I had feared. I hope the animals that eat the GMO version are not harmed.
    I know that the Bt used in many crops harmed humans (like me) after sufficient ingestion. I wish I could provide the hard science to back up my claim, but it has not yet been performed. And if the research were performed, it would never be published because a properly done study would show damage.
    I hope your use of RR alfalfa does not come home to bite you like GMO crops in India that have caused many Indian farmers to commit suicide.
    Meanwhile, I would like GMO food to be labeled so I can boycott it. I have read how the fraudulent science behind the approval of GMO crops works. I am just glad I am old enough to die before the full impact of Monsanto’s crimes destroy the world ecosystem. Don’ forget they were the ones hiding the extreme toxicity of Agent Orange used in Viet Nam. Before that was PCBs. They have a long history of lying and manipulating government regulatory agencies. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
    I hope the roundup and other agricultural chemicals do not give you cancer. It is not a fun way to die. Treatment is fraudulent in that too: remember, if two people out 100 (2%) survive cancer for the study period taking one drug (call it #1) and one person out 100 (1%) survives the study peiod taking another drug (call it #2), these statistics show that drug #1 is 50% more effective at prolonging survival than drug #2. Some effect. For drug #1 your odds of death are 98% and for drug #2 the odds of death are 99%. I’d rather just go out and shoot myself. Quicker, less painful, and cheaper too.

  19. Kevin A Young
    August 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    As a lifelong farmer I have seen the effects of so called bad chemicals such as DDT,Alar, and 100′s more that have been showed to be no more than political fodder. Test my health as well as my family and you will clearly see that genetics have more to do with cancer than any other outside source. DDT was mixed in the paint that went inside the old farmhouse that fed the harvest crews and housed my parents and grandparents. My Grandfather died earliest at the age of 86. All others have outlived him. Of course there are exceptions to the rule such as the one you mentioned “Agent Orange” which will affect more than half of those exposed. I am sorry if you have cancer or some other disease but if I were you I would be praying for healing and not trying to blame anyone. Prayer heals, complaining and blaming does not.

  20. Concerned citizen
    November 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    What about the fact that farmers who wish to remain GMO free, are being muscled into it, and sued by “you know who”, because a neighboring grower cross pollinated – tainting neighboring growers who have been using the same seed stores for 50 plus years? The right to grow from personal seed stores is being taken away. This is not a question of whether GMO’s are okay, or not. This is a question of basic growers rights being taken away, and muscled into submission, or put out of business. And, the grower’s who give in to using GMO seeds – for one reason or another (some coersed due to cross pollination/contamination), and given a choice to lose all of their assets in a legal battle, or just give in. And, ultimately, in the end, cross pollination eventually removing the ability to even choose which food sources to feed our families. This is a question of big corporation involvement, who is big enough to endlessly lobby and litigate – in the end, taking away freedom, and a right to choose. And unjustly putting legitmate established growers out of business. How is this ever the right choice?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      November 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      With all due respect, this post specifically related to alfalfa. With that being said, no one is being “muscled” into using RR alfalfa, it is by choice that growers choose to use it. In our area, RR alfalfa is comparable in yield to several other varieties that grow well here. Growers do not use RR alfalfa as a first choice, but rather as a tool to clean up fields from weeds that are susceptible to Round-Up (glyphosate). Once the stand is rotated out, more often than not, it is planted back to a non-RR variety, unless it is on dry-land.

      When growing alfalfa for forage, not for seed, cross-pollination is not an issue, and if it did occur, it is extremely unlikely that any pollinated seed would actually germinate, let alone reach maturity, for the reasons I explained in the post.

      RR alfalfa is a valuable tool for growers, greatly decreases the need and use of herbicides and is allowing established growers to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. Despite what you may have read from some sources, grower rights and freedoms are not being taken away by corporations.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

  21. Austin
    December 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Something you continually mention is the use of RR crops being “environmentally friendly.” I’m trying to sort through the facts on the issue of GMOs, and I just can’t see how dousing a field in Roundup can be environmentally friendly. Is it because the other pesticides are more toxic? Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is pretty harmful to humans as well from what I understand.

    Also, if GMOs won’t contaminate other crops, does that eliminate concerns about a loss of biodiversity? This is one of my main concerns with GMOs.

    If you ever get the time, I would appreciate it if you dissect this article a little bit. This guy claims that alfalfa will choke out the weeds if grown in healthy soil.
    http://www.truth-out.org/roundup-ready-alfalfa-damages-us-seed-industry/1319042829

    Thanks for your time and effort with this blog. Its really neat that you actually respond to readers concerns.

  22. April 12, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Thank you for putting this post together and for your thoughtful responses to so many comments. I was referred here when I went on a search for “the truth” about GMOs. I have learned that “the truth” is very gray. There are very valid points for and against and sifting through it all can be daunting, to say the least. To complicate it further, there seems to be a slew of new information every other day – especially in reaction to the recent “Monsanto rider” that was passed. Posts like this one are very helpful to someone who is like me (neither farmer nor scientist, just a concerned mom). I hope to post what I’ve learned at the beginning of next week.

  1. January 22, 2011 at 2:49 AM
  2. January 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM
  3. March 10, 2011 at 2:34 PM
  4. August 29, 2011 at 4:14 PM
  5. February 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM
  6. March 30, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: