Roundup Ready Alfalfa is the popular term used to refer to glyphosate-resistant crops, which has became a staple in the cropping system of the United States over the past couple of decade or so. As the third most popular crop in the US, there is a huge economic value associated with the alfalfa crop, which is also the reason why the introduction of GE alfalfa was met with a lot of criticism.
The Alfalfa Roundup Ready is a product from Monsanto, a company that has become somewhat synonymous to GMO. The technology behind this herbicide product promotes genetic resistance by introducing a gene into the crop that naturally modifies the composition of an enzyme that is vital to the crop’s growth in favor of improved weed strategies. The only downside to this is that the herbicide is not used directly on crops and is therefore one of the main reasons for concern behind genetic engineering in agriculture.
The innovation of this herbicide-ready modified Alfalfa crop has perceived advantages such as the following:
• Enhanced weed control
• More flexibility in controlling weeds
• Safety on animal health and feed
• Improved water quality
• Prevention in spread of damaging weeds
• Various economic benefits
Alfalfa Roundup Ready - Why The USDA Should Not Allow The Planting Of Modified Alfalfa
Monsanto has provided a wide range of benefits for developing GE alfalfa. However, there are also notable drawbacks and potential problems that could arise from this such that USDA alfalfa should perform an honest and extensive assessment on this before approving its release onto the market.
Here are some potential problems that could develop with the approval of modified alfalfa:
Limitations on weed control – Despite the fact that Roundup Ready Alfalfa is capable of dealing with a wide range of weeds, for those that it does not target, then Roundup is proven to be highly ineffective. The developers of this technology have also indicated lack of residual activity for this herbicide unlike conventional ones, so it is impossible to see results last for a long period of time.
Resistance to herbicide – Another environmental concern being considered by critics of GE alfalfa is the possibility that the weed population will develop resistance on these herbicides. Treatment of Roundup on an annual basis will result in that immunity until such a point when this herbicide will no longer be capable of doing its job.
Environmental gene flow – For environmental activists, this is the most important concern that has forced them to strengthen their campaign on USDA alfalfa disapproval. Once the Roundup Ready gene has modified the natural composition of alfalfa, there should be a more in-depth evaluation on the gene movement and persistence on the plant and how it will be passed onto the succeeding generations.
America’s GMO Policy And Monsanto
There are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration when American politicians and government in general come up with the GMO policy concerning genetic engineering in agriculture. The same goes with Monsanto’s products, such as Alfalfa Roundup Ready. There are environmental, political, economic, and human health factors that could come into play when ultimately making a decision on how to regulate genetic engineering food and other products that were developed from innovative cropping practices.