WHY+need+to+understd+evol+1 - May 4 2010 from NYT

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May 4 2010 from NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK DYERSBURG, Tenn. — For 15 years, Eddie Anderson, a farmer, has been a strict  adherent of no-till agriculture, an environmentally friendly technique that all but  eliminates plowing to curb erosion and the harmful runoff of fertilizers and pesticides.  But not this year. On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors  crisscrossed a rolling field — plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds  where soybeans will soon be planted. Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to  the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the  weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. To fight  them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being  forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more  labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.  “We’re back to where we were 20 years  ago,” said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean  fields this spring, more than he has in years. “We’re trying to find out what works.”Farm  experts say that such efforts could lead to higher  food prices , lower crop yields, rising  farm costs and more pollution of land and water.  “It is the single largest threat to  production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of  the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.  The first resistant species to pose a  serious threat to agriculture was spotted in a Delaware soybean field in 2000. Since then,  the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions  of acres, predominantly soybeans, cotton and corn.  The superweeds could temper  American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some  genetically modified crops . Soybeans, corn  and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard  in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little 
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course BIO 1410 taught by Professor Rast during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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WHY+need+to+understd+evol+1 - May 4 2010 from NYT

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