Herbicide rates, germplasms (was information based farming)

klier at iscsvax.uni.edu klier at iscsvax.uni.edu
Sat Sep 12 10:25:05 EST 1992


samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu (S. A. Modena) writes:
... Post emergergence herbicides are
> applied at the rate of 0.33 to 1.75 PINTS-per-ACRE for liquids and up
> to 2 OZ-per-ACRE for solids.  So weight 30 grams of salt and go 
> distribute it (as an aqueous solution) over an acre lawn...then
> come back and lick the grass: can you taste the salt ?  :^)

Uh, bit of a straw man here.  Spray 30 grams of botulinin and lick the grass;
you'll get a different result!  ;^)

I'm not anti-pesticide-- this just reminds me a (deceased) weed scientist
who used to drink a glass of 2,4-D to "prove" it was OK to use.   (Gack!)

>>genetic engineering necessary to produce resistant crop varieties is costly,
>>only one (or a very few) varieties of a given crop are likely to be produced
>>with this resistance, so if this is widely accepted, then the germplasm base
>>present in the fields will be very narrow.  Huge acreage planted to a single 
>>variety is an ideal situation for a disease epidemic.
> 
> Well, this might be your approach, but seed companies like Pioneer Hi-bred
> International are more sophisticated and pragmatic than to encourage
> this sort of practice.

Oh?  How about the Texas Male Sterile Cytoplasm fiasco in the 1970's?
How many farmers sweated the southern corn leaf blight epidemic?  How much
did Pioneer and Garst and all the other Big Guys spend on a southern
hemisphere winter season seed increase to have enough non-TMS seed for
the next season?

> In fact, it's the small seed producer that buys generic hybrids made from
> public elite inbreds from foundation seed companies, that can make your
> senario come true.  Every garage operator is bagging up B73 x Mo17 (or
> whatever is most popular now) under his own label.
> 
> Have you looked at how many lines Pioneer offers for a given geographic
> region?  Are they carbon copies, differing by one gene?  I don't think
> so. 

IMHO, one of the major problems we are facing in agriculture is the relatively
narrow genetic base of *most* of our crops.  Look at John Doebley's
work with the corn-belt corns.  Most (75+%?) of the sorghum seed in this
country has one particular cultivar (Redlan, if memory serves) in its
pedigree.  These lines are certainly not near-isogenic, but they ARE only
a tiny fraction of the gene pool.

Kay Klier  Biology Dept  UNI



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