As GM Bt pesticidal cotton falls victim to pests in Brazil, Dow recommends spraying insecticides. Monsanto blames the farmers and says besides planting refuges, farmers should use integrated pest management (IPM).
So much for the GMO industry mantra that "the technology is in the seed", which, believe it or not, is still parroted:
Why not forget about the costly GM traits and just spray insecticides and do IPM instead? Let's hope non-GM seeds are still available in Brazil.
Here's more on the Bt crops meltdown in Brazil:
EXCERPT: To date [the farmer] has made 22 applications of insecticides on [GM] cotton that is more resistant to caterpillars and at least five others should be made before the end of the season.
Pests raise cost of GM cotton farming in Mato Grosso
globo.com (Brazil), 28 May 2014
GMWatch/Google translation of Portuguese original at:
* GM planting has not been enough to control caterpillars
* Insecticide costs are up to 45% higher than last season
Cotton producers in Mato Grosso are having to spend more this year to combat pests that attack the crop. Those who have opted for GM seed are not free from the problem.
The plants are developing, we can already see the plumes in some plots, but less than a month away from the beginning of harvest, the farmer Octhávio Palmeira is still worried about pest attacks.
There are 5700[? "5,7 mil"] hectares of planted area in Primavera do Leste. Altogether, 80% of the crop is transgenic cotton, and the remainder is conventional plants, which make up the so-called refuge, the area which helps to decrease the chances that, with time, pests resistant to GM seeds emerge. GM cultivars, which are more expensive, were aimed at greater control of pests, but the producer says this is not going as he expected.
To date he has made 22 applications of insecticides on [GM] cotton that is more resistant to caterpillars and at least five others should be made before the end of the season. With this, the producer estimates that spending on insecticides will increase 45% over the previous harvest […] The average production cost could reach 7000 Brazilian Real per hectare this season, almost 2000 more than last year.
The scenario worries researchers from the Mato Grosso Cotton Institute, who have been monitoring caterpillar resistance to existing GM varieties on the market for two years in partnership with the Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais. "What is happening is that with the use of crops side by side, especially in the Mato Grosso production scenario, the caterpillars have a food supply throughout the year, and are suffering resistance selection pressure all year in different crops, which increases the possibility of them becoming increasingly resistant," explains biologist Danielle Thomazoni.
Dow AgroSciences, responsible for the technology in some of the seeds used by farmer Octhávio, said that the cultivar is not registered or indicated for the control of Helicoverpa armigera [cotton bollworm]. With respect to severe infestation by other types of caterpillar, the company recommends spraying insecticides.
Monsanto, owner of the technology in another cultivar used by the farmer, says that the seed company confers protection against the Helicoverpa bollworm and that the farmer, besides planting areas of refuge, as he already does, must also perform integrated pest management.