The Post-GMO Economy
December 6, 2013
One mainstream farmer is returning to conventional seed - and he's not alone. Staring at a future of lower corn prices and higher inputs, Huegerich decided to experiment. Two years ago, he planted 320 acres of conventional corn and 1,700 with GMO corn.
To his delight, the conventional fields yielded 15 to 30 more bushels per acre than the GMO fields, with a profit margin of up to $100 more per acre. Hugerich Isn't the only farmer retreating from GMO seeds. In pockets across the nation, commodity growers are becoming fed up with traits that don't work like they used to. Not only are the seeds expensive (GMO corn can cost $150 more per bag than conventional corn), they're also driving farmers to buy and apply more chemicals. During the growing season, Huegerich sprays both his conventional and his GMO corn twice with herbicides and twice with pesticides, despite the GMO's theoretical resistance to rootworm. "It gives me peace of mind," Huegerich says. Between 2001 and 2010, the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch reports, total on-farm herbicide use increased 26 percent as weed resistance grew. Today, 61.2 million acres of cropland, including many of Huegerich's, are plagued by glyphosate-resistant weeds.