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Senior Advisor

Monsanto's views on RR wheat and other clues

This article is thanks to jput from a thread below.

 

http://www.hpj.com/archives/2013/jun13/jun17/0612GMWheatJMLdbsr.cfm?t=Monsanto%27s-tests-show-commer...

 

There is interesting points here and some possibly misleading perceptions. And some hope.

 

First, the article title -


Monsanto's tests show commercial wheat varieties in PNW free of GM trait

 

What's that mean to you? Do you think it means positive proof there is no other RR wheat growing in the PNW? I think you'd be wrong if that's what you think it means. What it actually means is that 'foundation seed' of the most popular varieties was checked with no 'positives' for RR wheat traits. There are generally 4 grades of seed wheat. 'Foundation' is the increased seed developed by breeders in isolation and tested for purity and consistency complete with official tagging and record keeping to verify it. Then there is 'Registered' wheat for seed increase. Registered seed is derived from official 'foundation seed' and field inspected by official seed organizations from the state that would walk the fields during development for purity and weed conatamination and check the paperwork trail and lot numbers. 'Certified' seed is derived from 'registered' seed increase and vouched and inspected by the state seed organizations sanctioned by the states. Common seed is from a farmer's field, not inspected or vouched for officially. It could be from certified seed or be generations removed and isn't inspected officially. This is what most wheat farmers produce in the end.

 

The fact that foundation seed was tested and did not result in a 'positive' is good news because it means avoiding the disaster that would result by having the entire seed industry and distribution channels compromised - and likely the possibility of widespread contamination of commercial wheat from the seed to the customer. Most farmers don't grow either 'foundation' or 'registered' seed. I know of no farmers in my area that grow anything less than certified seed (here) because of the previous horror stories of contamination by such things as jointed goat grass, annual Italian Rye and other grasses that cause problems in our area and can be carried by 'common' seed. We may grow anywghere from 40-100+ bu/ac of dryland wheat depending on the site but it is just as conducive to increasing noxious weeds.

 

The site where RR wheat was found in the SW corner of Oregon's field agriculture is a mixture of two varieties very popular in the PNW. I would guess it was most likely 'certified' seed because it was mixed and dealers and their insurance companies frown on the practice of selling common seed because of the liability. Where in the chain did the RR trait enter the seed stream? It may eventually be known but it apparently isn't known now. I'll guess at least one seed provider is very nervous. If the contaminated variety was one of the varieties supposed to be in the mix planted (the foundation seed supply testing negative) that seems worrisome. If it was a third variety detected then it could be an accidental one off, maybe, w/o an obvious explanation for the moment. I suspect it was not the latter as there is no mention of a 'contaminating' third variety. I've grown one of the varieties mentioned in the intended mix that was planted, but i don't know which of the two contained the RR trait in this case. I'll guess the 'guilty' variety will be dead for next year's seed supply.

 

Monsanto declares that 12 years after testing is too long for viable wheat seed to come from volunteer. Maybe in the wild. But wheat seed under cover can be viable for many years. That suggests that the source of the RR wheat was stored or misplaced under cover - and then introduced into the seed supply, whether by accident or not. And no verification of how the field was populated. Randomly or in one area would both create implications. If it was randomly it would suggest a larger seed supply - even if local - was contaminated. One small area would be downright weird.

 

Another clue is that this must have been a dryland field as it was fallowed this last year and it was in spraying it to get it ready for another crop that the RR event was isolated. I'm guessing the farmer will not be planting wheat or other winter small grain there this fall after all. And I'll bet Monsanto makes it worth his while not to do so.

 

Wheat in the PNW is very specific to the PNW by and large. I have run into one scam involving 'certified' wheat. Turns out it was bin run from Montana and when my wife got back with the bulk truck of seed I took one look at it and realized it was bin run. But the outfit was selling it Idaho as Washington certified seed. I didn't get them in as much trouble as they should have been in but I certainly warned my neighbors of the fraudulent activity. Hardest part was getting it unloaded at the dealer. They weren't set up to take back bulk seed (the only way we do it here).

 

 

 

 

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11 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Monsanto's views on RR wheat and other clues

Thanks for sharing your take on this.   

 

I'm wondering that given the strict EPA and USDA requirements that came down hard on the seed companies following the Starlink incident,  how it would even be possible for experimental wheat seed to get into the supply chain?   And there are serious consequences for ignoring govt. protocols.    By the time all the costs,  fines,  etc. were totaled,  Garst was done and gone as an independent seed company because of their Starlink carelessness.     

 

Saw the post that maybe birds or other wildlife might have injested and spread the seed.   Interesting theory but I dunno.   My theory is that this is some disgruntled employee or anti-biotech activist.   The activists have been raising he!! in the EU for years and they're frustrated in the US because they keep losing in courts and can't come up with any scientific proof against biotech.    They try,  they slime,  they smear,  but can't come up with proof.   So being frustrated,   they'll resort to extreme acts just like HSUS,  PETA,  ELF,  ALF,  Sierra Club, EWG, etc.

 

 

Bin run seed,  well that would mean that some experimental wheat would have been combined and somehow co-mingled.   Most times the EPA requires biotech experiments be destroyed before they go to seed.   What seed would be harvested would be retained under lock and key.   Combine thoroughly cleaned out.    My hunch is still the disgrutled employee or anti-biotech activist.   I think I look like Columbo????

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: hb 933 passed and signed bout

a month ago is called by some the monsanto protection act.

 

basically if something "gets away" from em, there's no liability because our govt has legislatively taken the stance that accidents happen to those trying to accomplish beneficial good for all thru genetic engineering.

 

irregardless monsanto developed a rup resistent grass in oregon also ( bout 10 years ago ).

 

that grass also was not released nor approved.

And it "got away" from em too.

 

Oregon is full of that rup resistent grass now. 

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: hb 933 passed and signed bout

I'm a bit startled by the RR grass escape. Never heard of it. What variety of grass would it be? Since our area seems to become a good home for any grass that makes its way into the West.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Pal, it's creeping bentgrass

guess it's invaded most everything there.

 

was developed 10 to 15 years ago by M as a rup resistent grass for golf course use ( Scotts and others were in on the great idea ),

 anyway the stuff got away from em.

 

M tried to get is approved in 2003 ( that was after it escaped to the winds btw ) usda did not approve it.

 

guess it really follows the irrigation canals then creeps into the fields etc..

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Senior Advisor

Re: hb 933 passed and signed bout

I tried a rudimentary search regarding excusing corps from liability for 'escapes' of GE material but didn't hit anything for US House Bill 933. If anyone has a reference to this I'd be interested.

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Senior Contributor

Re: HR 933 passed etc. Farmer Assurance Provision link

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Senior Advisor

Re: HR 933 passed etc. Farmer Assurance Provision link

That's a very interesting provision that could potentially cause some problems.

 

However, RR wheat has never been approved. Which is the basis for the provision.

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Senior Contributor

Re: HR 933 passed etc. Farmer Assurance Provision link

    I beleive the RR grass was bent grass which is a weed anyway.Bent is hard to kill with round up any way,why would some idiots want to make it worse does not make a licken bit of sence!

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Senior Contributor

Re: HR 933. Pal, carefully read the 4rth paragraph

under the "Criticism" segment of the link.

 

btw, creeping bentgrass was never approved either.

 

scott's was fined 500k in 2004 on the deal.

big m...don't know if they were fined or not.

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