Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The glyphosate link is interesting. Of course that herbicide has been the object of a huge load of hype (biodegradable, innocuous, etc), but interesting things are surfacing here and there about it. I doubt you'll have missed last month's publication by Barney Gordon of Kansas State (no less!) showing manganese uptake deficiency in RoundUp Ready soy (explaining lower yields than conventional soy).

Gordon (from the Google cache, the pdf is for some reason disabled...)

There is evidence to suggest that glyphosate may interfere with Mn metabolism and also adversely affect populations of soil micro-organisms responsible for reduction of Mn to a plant-available form. Manganese availablity is also strongly influenced by soil pH. As soil pH increases, plant-available Mn decreases. It is unlikely that Mn deficiencies will occur on acid soils. It stands to reason that the addition of supplemental Mn at the proper time may correct deficiencies and result in greater GR soybean yields.

Quite un-glyphosate-connected, my neighbour who grew 50 hectares of GM BT maize last year - MON 810 - had fusarium problems with it. This makes it officially unsaleable in France because of the microtoxins present. (Spanish buyers are less fussy and the crop just went South of the border). Where there might be a link is the effect on soil micro-organisms of the transgene from bacillus thurengiensis, which is a... soil bacterium.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 23rd, 2008 at 04:34:33 PM EST
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It's unfortunate but information in papers presented by researchers and scientists working for the Ag Companies (In-House and Out-House :-) cannot be trusted.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jun 19th, 2008 at 11:38:01 AM EST
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It's true that Gordon's explanation of "yield drag" (consistently lower yields from GM crops than conventional) is a sweeter one for Monsanto than a plain genetic one: ie to get performance of a specific nature from an engineered plant, you inevitably have to sacrifice yield. (That, btw, is the opinion Marie-Monique Robin stated the other evening.)

Still and all, he's saying you need to sprinkle some Mg fairy dust over the field on top of the rest. So what was meant to simplify farmers' lives (easy weedkilling) turns out to be less simple (and more costly) than promised.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 20th, 2008 at 05:20:49 PM EST
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