As if the Record Drought Wasn’t Problem Enough

The last three weeks, I have written almost exclusively about weather and weather-related topics. With so many new readers, I wish to point out that one of the goals of this blog is to talk about applications of science.

As world supplies shrink relative to demand, the Wall Street Journal has the story of

Widely grown corn plants that Monsanto Co. genetically modified to thwart a voracious bug are falling prey to that very pest in a few Iowa fields, the first time a major Midwest scourge has developed resistance to a genetically modified crop.
The discovery raises concerns that the way some farmers are using biotech crops could spawn superbugs.
Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann’s discovery that western corn rootworms in four northeast Iowa fields have evolved to resist the natural pesticide made by Monsanto’s corn plant could encourage some farmers to switch to insect-proof seeds sold by competitors of the St. Louis crop biotechnology giant, and to return to spraying harsher synthetic insecticides on their fields.

This is potentially a big deal. With ethanol-driven demand for corn and the severe drought on the southwest side of the corn belt, we need every bushel we can raise.

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