Monsanto Practices Cripple Midwestern Corn Crops: Goss’s Wilt Wrecks Yields.

By on October 1, 2013

Racing through the corn belt of America is a bacterial illness that threatens to bankrupt farmers.

The disease, known as Goss’s wilt, unheard of even five years ago,  the corn blight may not kill the plant, but it always curtails the yield,  sometimes by as much as 50%.

So where does this blight start?  In the laboratories of genetic modifiers including Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta.  Leading plant pathologists believe that in genetic modification of corn seeds by the big three, which has the aim of making the plant resistant to the herbicide, glyphosate (aka Roundup) the unintended if not fatal consequence is that the seeds are susceptible to Goss’s wilt.

Experts say that several factors have made the perfect storm for the spread of this blight.  The newly developed seeds were hybridized for maximum yield – an idea that attracts farmers everywhere.  These plants were also sold with instructions that the farmer could plant the field from hedge row to hedge row, and would not need to rotate the crops as often.corn goss's wilt map of range

The map shows the spread of Goss’s Wilt and includes my home county,  Deaf Smith County, Texas which not only is home to more feedlots than any place in the country, but also a humongous Ethanol plant, built in the middle of these corn fields.  Eeek.

Goss’s wilt just says thank you.  And in this latest iteration of Nature vs. Nurture  it proves once again that we just can’t massage our way into a brave new world where the earth produces perfect high yields with no risk.

From the Oklahoma Farm Report, here’s Monsanto’s pitch:

“Monsanto’s annual research and development update highlighted record project advancement across the company’s breeding, biotechnology, and improved agronomics platforms, all aimed at sustainably maximizing farmer productivity while conserving resources like water and land.

Through integrated research in breeding, biotechnology, and new technology areas such as Integrated Farming Systems and agricultural biologicals, Monsanto is focused on offering farmers the best possible system of products to optimize the performance of their crops each growing season. This systems approach focuses on delivering multiple solutions for farmers to combat the challenges they face, using fewer inputs, while ensuring the solutions work together to maximize total yield potential.”

While this is as enticing as an offer to be a distributor for Walter White’s methamphetine empire, the results are almost biblical in their destruction of farm land,  farmers’ bank books, and the corn crop that feeds the insatiable desires for ethanol and corn to feed the livestock in feedlots.corn goss's wilt field 3

It’s quite an unholy alliance and one that may crush upon itself through the wisdom of nature.

But what can you do?  Refuse to buy GMO products and that includes most corn chips, breakfast cereals,  ethanol for your car, and supermarket beef steaks.

It’s gonna be hard to turn the Titanic around,  but we can do it if we try.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”