Monday, May 3, 2010

Weed Scientists

As an agent of chaos, weeds are my friends. While weeds are a problem in any farmer's field, should that field be small and mostly tended by human, rather than chemical, attention, they will always been a problem with a solution.

Weeds can be pulled up by hand. At most, you may have to wear gloves. It may even take years to tame a particularly weedy patch of ground. I once saw Mike Madison spread clear plastic sheeting on a new field. The idea was that, in the sun, the plastic sheeting would collect moisture and heat up, thereby steaming the soil underneath and killing the seeds.

It didn't work. Round-up used to work, but now in an unprecedented and unforeseeable turn of events...

No, I'm sorry. That's wrong. Wrong words, William! Let me start again. a completely predictable and almost unavoidable turn of events, weeds have become resistant to poison! It's the Rise of the Super Weeds! Monsanto is twitchy about it. (Each link is different! It was quite rewarding to type 'Monsanto' and 'Evil' into an image search.)

Monsanto, which once argued that resistance would not become a major problem, now cautions against exaggerating its impact. “It’s a serious issue, but it’s manageable,” said Rick Cole, who manages weed resistance issues in the United States for the company.

Kansas has, of course, all six Super Weeds.

This will could either eat away at the nasty authority of monoculture farming, or force Monsanto to fulfill its Destiny of Poisoning Us All.

So, oddly, the farmer's great enemy, the weed, is actually a farmer's great friend.

Here's to you, noble Pigweed.

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