Problems with herbicide

I received an email newsletter this week from ‘Spilling the Beans’ by  Jeffrey M. Smith the well known American Author of, Seeds of Deception, and Genetic Roulette.

The email explains the problems that are occurring with the use of glyphosate (Sold under various brand names such as Roundup, Zero and several others)
This is interesting as a few months ago I wrote an article about ‘Mundulla Yellows’ from Australia where it has been found that continued use of herbicides was affecting established trees and plants.
Glyphosate is a major weed killer in New Zealand both commercially and domestically and it is now believed to not only effect the health of the soil but also the health of animals and humans.
It is very likely that there are traces of glyphosate in much of the food that you eat and it is also known that this can lead to serious health problems.
The following is extracts from the email and if you would like a full copy, you can email me for the same.
Titled: ‘Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health’
While visiting a seed corn dealer’s demonstration plots in Iowa last fall, Dr. Don Huber walked passed a soybean field and noticed a distinct line separating severely diseased yellowing soybeans on the right from healthy green plants on the left. The yellow section was suffering from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease that ravaged the Midwest in 2009 and ’10, driving down yields and profits. Something had caused that area of soybeans to be highly susceptible and Don had a good idea what it was.
The diseased field on the right had glyphosate applied the previous season.  He asked the seed dealer why the SDS was so severe in the one area of the field and not the other. “Did you plant something there last year that wasn’t planted in the rest of the field?” he asked. Sure enough, precisely where the severe SDS was, the dealer had grown alfalfa, which he later killed off at the end of the season by spraying a glyphosate-based herbicide (such as Roundup). The healthy part of the field, on the other hand, had been planted to sweet corn and hadn’t received glyphosate.
This was yet another confirmation that Roundup was triggering SDS. In many fields, the evidence is even more obvious. The disease was most severe at the ends of rows where the herbicide applicator looped back to make another pass. That’s where extra Roundup was applied.

The perfect storm for plant disease:
The herbicide doesn’t destroy plants directly. It rather cooks up a unique perfect storm of conditions that revs up disease-causing organisms in the soil, and at the same time wipes out plant defenses against those diseases. The mechanisms are well-documented but rarely cited.
The glyphosate molecule grabs vital nutrients and doesn’t let them go. This process is called chelation and was actually the original property for which glyphosate was patented in 1964. It was only 10 years later that it was patented as an herbicide. When applied to crops, it deprives them of vital minerals necessary for healthy plant functionespecially for resisting serious soilborne diseases. The importance of minerals for protecting against disease is well established. In fact, mineral availability was the single most important measurement used by several famous plant breeders to identify disease-resistant varieties.
Glyphosate annihilates beneficial soil organisms, such as Pseudomonas and Bacillus bacteria that live around the roots. Since they facilitate the uptake of plant nutrients and suppress disease-causing organisms, their untimely deaths means the plant gets even weaker and the pathogens even stronger.
The herbicide can interfere with photosynthesis, reduce water use efficiency, lower lignin , damage and shorten root systems, cause plants to release important sugars, and change soil pHall of which can negatively affect crop health.
Glyphosate itself is slightly toxic to plants. It also breaks down slowly in soil to form another chemical called AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) which is also toxic. But even the combined toxic effects of glyphosate and AMPA are not sufficient on their own to kill plants.
The actual plant assassins, according to Purdue weed scientists and others, are severe disease-causing organisms present in almost all soils. Glyphosate dramatically promotes these, which in turn overrun the weakened crops with deadly infections.
“This is the herbicidal mode of action of glyphosate,” says Don. “It increases susceptibility to disease, suppresses natural disease controls such as beneficial organisms, and promotes virulence of soilborne pathogens at the same time.” In fact, he points out that “If you apply certain fungicides to weeds, it destroys the herbicidal activity of glyphosate!”
By weakening plants and promoting disease, glyphosate opens the door for lots of problems in the field. According to Don, “There are more than 40 diseases of crop plants that are reported to increase with the use of glyphosate, and that number keeps growing as people recognize the association between glyphosate and disease.”
Some of the fungi promoted by glyphosate produce dangerous toxins that can end up in food and feed.
In addition to promoting plant diseases, which is well-established, spraying Roundup might also promote insects. That’s because many bugs seek sick plants. Scientists point out that healthy plants produce nutrients in a form that many insects cannot assimilate. Thus, farmers around the world report less insect problems among high quality, nutrient-dense crops. Weaker plants, on the other hand, create insect smorgasbords. This suggests that plants ravaged with diseases promoted by glyphosate may also attract more insects, which in turn will increase the use of toxic pesticides. More study is needed to confirm this.
Monsanto used to boast that Roundup is biodegradable, claiming that it breaks down quickly in the soil. But courts in the US and Europe disagreed and found them guilty of false advertising. In fact, Monsanto’s own test data revealed that only 2% of the product broke down after 28 days.
Glyphosate has been linked to sterility, hormone disruption, abnormal and lower sperm counts, miscarriages, placental cell death, birth defects, and cancer, to name a few.
The same nutrients that glyphosate chelates and deprives plants are also vital for human and animal health. These include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, boron, and others. Deficiencies of these elements in our diets, alone or in combination, are known to interfere with vital enzyme systems and cause a long list of disorders and diseases.
Alzheimer’s, for example, is linked with reduced copper and magnesium. Don Huber points out that this disease has jumped 9000% since 1990. End
A very interesting article and one to make you think twice before using that quick kill, weed killer around your gardens and home.

Editor: What do you think? Do you agree with this article? Post your comments and questions below:

3 comments on “Problems with herbicide

  1. Hazel Lucy on said:

    Thankyou for the information about glyphosate (Roundup etc).
    I try to use safe gardening practices but, like a lot of gardeners, believed that glyphosate use, if kept to a minimum, was a satisfactory way to eradicate stubborn weeds.
    What is my next plan of attack?
    Wally what is the best way to control those perennial, persistent weeds?

  2. Hazel Lucy on said:

    Thank you for past information and advice.
    I have started container gardening in recent years but found holiday time a real problem for my plants.
    I installed a automatic drip watering system, the expense builds so I want this to be a successful venture.
    Are there any watering guidelines that might prevent overwatering. I have 2 separate lines one to the small greenhouse for tomatoes the other covers all ornamental pots varying in size from 1/2 barrels down to 2-3 ltr pots. The large pots and barrels get 2 drippers @ 4 ltrs/hr the smaller have 1 dripper at 2ltr/hr. I water for an hour every morning at this time of year for the ornamental but only 1/2 hr each morning for tomatoes as they are all in small pots in the greenhouse.
    So far so good but am I heading for trouble???
    Would love to hear from anyone with experience.
    I have seen pictures of Wally Richards’ back yard container system and see no water lines or drippers anywhere in his photographs so how ever does he keep everything watered?
    Kind regards

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