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    Pest Learns How to Beat Engineered Corn Crop

    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

    3.6K
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    Years ago, many farmers switched to planting Bt corn, a variety engineered to repel one of the crop’s greatest enemies, the rootworm.

    Years ago, many farmers switched to planting Bt corn, a variety engineered to repel one of the crop’s greatest enemies, the rootworm.

    At the time, it was predicted by some that the pest would eventually figure out how to beat the biotech barrier, and now it’s happening.

    Evidence of rootworms assaulting the allegedly impervious plants has been found in a number of states, and the problem is spreading.

    Now, it appears that farmers may have to go back to using the strong, environmentally harmful pesticides the corn was created to replace.

    Some are placing the blame for the rootworm’s return on a combination of farming practices and insufficient EPA guidelines.

    When the enhanced corn appeared, researchers pointed out that regular corn should be planted along side it, serving as a refuge for the pests and thereby maintaining their susceptibility to the Bt.

    That area was recommended to be as much as 50% of the cornfields. The EPA designated that between 5 and 20 percent would be sufficient.

    Some farmers didn’t plant any diversion crops at all.

    Others say the real problem lies in that modified crops are being seen as all-encompassing solutions rather than parts of a larger process that includes old, proven methods like crop rotation.