Harvest Public Media
8:30 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Herbicide-Resistant Crops One Step Closer To US Fields

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S. They would help farmers control weeds that are no longer killed by the popular herbicide, Roundup.

Dow Agrosciences has engineered new crops that can withstand the herbicide 2,4-D, giving farmers a new tool against weeds resistant to Roundup.

Tuesday, the USDA released a draft environmental report that puts those seeds one step closer to commercial release. Iowa State weed specialist Bob Hartzler says if they’re approved the crops would give farmers a new use for an old weed killer.

"2,4-D basically is the chemical that started the whole chemical era of weed management. It gives them a new solution, but I wouldn’t call it a new direction," he says.

That’s because Hartzler says weeds will eventually build resistance to 2,4-D. That’s one drawback pointed out in the USDA report. It also says increased use of 2,4-D could harm sensitive vine crops like grapes and tomatoes.

Regulators won’t make a final decision until the EPA also weighs in..