Monsanto's Argument Against Superweeds

Good Essays

The introduction of herbicides and their counterparts, herbicide-resistant crops, to industrial

agriculture led to a rise in “superweeds.” Superweeds are weeds, which have grown resistant to

key ingredients in herbicides, such as glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup. In an attempt to

overcome superweeds, Dow AgroSciences (DAS) is petitioning the Animal and Plant Health

Inspection Service (APHIS) for the nonregulated status of three 2,4-D herbicide-resistant crops.

Additionally, DAS submitted a complementary 2,4-D herbicide new-use application for each of

the aforementioned herbicide-resistant crops, to be reviewed by the Environmental Protection

Agency (EPA). In January 2014, APHIS released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), …show more content…

While these methods of mitigating superweeds may seem promising,

they will only provide temporary relief. Scientists and health professionals have shown that

excessive use of herbicides with herbicide-resistant crops results in even more resistant

superweeds, harm to the environment, and damage to human health. Therefore, it is not a

sustainable practice.


In 1974, Monsanto introduced Roundup, a non-selective herbicide, which promised to reduce

fuel, tillage, and overall herbicide costs to farmers. To complement the herbicide, Monsanto’s

Alison Campestre

NSCI 511, Policy Brief

Due date: February 10, 2014

genetically engineered Roundup Ready Soybean made its commercial appearance in 1996,

followed by several other staple crops including corn.i These products allowed farmers to drench

their crops in Roundup. The long-term and widespread use of Roundup with Roundup Ready

crops led to the rise of “superweeds,” which are resistant to the key active ingredient in

Roundup, glyphosate. In reaction, Dow AgroSciences (DAS) is petitioning the Animal and …show more content…

Modern biotechnology has resulted in genetically engineered crops, whose DNA has been

manipulated to “overcome the natural limitations…of traditional breeding.”ii In the agricultural

industry, crops such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybean, are genetically modified to survive

massive herbicide applications. Although the crops may initially provide a weed management

solution for industrial agriculture, the overuse of non-selective herbicides (which target a variety

of weeds as compared to selective herbicides), such as glyphosate and 2,4-D, leads to

superweeds through natural selection. In natural selection, the biologically resistant

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