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Pests in Illinois destroy fields of Monsanto corn, proving its inefficacy

Posted: September 3, 2013 |   Comments

( Farmers in two Illinois counties have reported that the western corn rootworm, a potentially devastating pest, is showing up in their fields despite rotating fields and planting Monsanto's GM corn.

On Monday, two entomologists from the University of Illinois went to Livingston and Kankakee counties where they spotted severe corn rootworm damage in two fields planted with Bt corn. Bt corn was engineered to protect crops from this very situation by producing an insecticidal protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis.

Illinois corn farmers practice rotation farming to help minimize the damage caused by pests, but the corn rootworm is rotation-resistant and now seems to be Bt resistant as well.

Joe Spencer and Michael Gray, the two entomologists, will run tests to confirm that these rootworms have acquired a resistance to the poison-producing corn.

The entomologists also collected corn rootworms from adjacent soybean fields. "The density of the western corn rootworm adults in both crops ... was additional evidence that the Bt hybrids had failed to offer the necessary root protection," Gray said in a statement.

Spencer and Gray say that this rootworm is found in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa, in addition to Illinois, meaning that the problem could become more widespread in the coming years.

Gray and Spencer claim that farmers will have to switch to a less natural, more heavily genetically modified product that has "multiple modes of action," such as Monsanto's Genuity SmartStax line, to kill the corn rootworm. Otherwise, more insecticide would have to be used, which is allegedly the opposite of what GMOs were supposed to achieve. Of course though, calling for increased GMO usage to cover up the issues created by GMOs will only exacerbate the problem further.

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