Published: Wednesday 10 October 2012
“Monopoly of the seed industry has left farmers unable to get non-GM varieties, despite the drought having global repercussions including steep rises of cereal prices and reduced meat production in many countries.”

The U.S. is suffering the worst drought in 50 years. But crop damage may well have been avoided if high quality non-GM (genetically modified) varieties were available to farmers. Further evidence is emerging that glyphosate-tolerant crops are ill-equipped to deal with drought, while high quality non-GM varieties are flourishing. Monopoly of the seed industry has left farmers unable to get non-GM varieties, despite the drought having global repercussions including steep rises of cereal prices and reduced meat production in many countries.

In a commentary circulated by GM Watch (UK), Howard Vlieger, a co-founder and agroecological farming advisor of Verity Farms in drought-stricken South Dakota in the U.S., provides evidence from a farmer who has grown both GM and Verity Farms’ non-GM varieties of soybean and corn side by side. Non-GM soybean, grown in agroecological conditions to promote soil biodiversity and nutritional content is shown next to Monsanto’s GM triple-stack GM corn, which is glyphosate-tolerant and additionally expresses two Bt insecticidal toxins, grown using conventional chemical industrial methods that include the use of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup. The non-GM varieties appear greener, fuller and healthier. These impressions are backed up by the far superior yield reported of non-GM corn, which averaged 100-120 bushels per acre (BPA) compared to the 8-12 BPA to 30-50 BPA of GM corn.

The large yield differential was confirmed in a new set of harvest data provided by Vlieger (with accompanying photographic identification) for three fields surrounding Verity Farm, all growing Smart Stack RR corn. All were harvested for corn silage as the yields were too poor to harvest the grain. The federal crop insurance adjuster appraised yields were respectively 12 bushels per ...

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