The gods have a wicked sense of humor. That is quite evident in a press release we found from something called PressZoom, which was “created to enable companies, universities, research centers, government agencies and other organizations to distribute press releases and breaking news to the media.” They also say: “Basic news releases cost US $19.” That seems amazingly legitimate, so we’re taking this seriously.
Thanks to their service, we bring to your attention an item titled Louisiana farmers face added cost of battling resistant weeds. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Tests by the LSU AgCenter have confirmed herbicide-resistant pigweed at three locations in north Louisiana.
Pigweed? Egad! Here’s a link to the LSI AgCenter. They have the same story with the same title at their website, but we’ll stick with the press release, without which we wouldn’t have known about this news. Let’s read on:
“We’re evaluating alternative weed control programs,” said Jim Griffin, LSU AgCenter weed scientist. “We’ll assist growers in planning control programs where weed control issues have occurred.” Two of the fields were in Tensas Parish, and the third was in Franklin Parish. All three populations are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, which includes Roundup as well as many other glyphosate products.
Several states from Iowa to Georgia, including Arkansas and Mississippi, have had severe outbreaks of herbicide-resistant weeds, including pigweed, specifically Palmer amaranth.
As you’ve come to expect, your Curmudgeon provides a link to additional information: Amaranthus palmeri. We continue with the press release:
Griffin said it’s not a surprise that the problem finally surfaced in Louisiana. “It was not a matter of if, but when.” Griffin explained that herbicide resistance is the result of accelerated evolution.
Evolution? Oh no! All over Louisiana the citizens must be scratching their heads and wondering: “How did this happen to us? We’re an officially creationist state!” (See Who Sucked the Brains out of Louisiana?).
The press release then gives a fine description of natural selection:
“The process begins with just a few plants with the genetic capacity to survive the herbicide treatment. It is believed that these plants, which occur naturally in the population at a very low level, are not a result of genetic mutation caused by the herbicide. These inherently resistant plants, when exposed to the same herbicide over several years, produce seed. Over time the population slowly shifts such that the resistant weeds become dominant. Since this process is slow, the producer may not notice the problem until large scale weed control failures occur,” Griffin said.
This is an outrage! The legislature and the governor of Louisiana have taken heroic steps to assure that creationism is taught in their schools. Evolution isn’t supposed to happen there.
Okay, enough sarcasm. There’s a great deal of information in the press release about pesticides and weed control, so if you’re interested in such things you should definitely click over there to see what’s going on.
Aside from the agricultural consequences of this issue, the lesson for Louisiana is this: You can elect stupid legislators, you can ban books, you can indoctrinate your children — but you can’t cheat on reality. Like her or not, reality is the gal we’re stuck with, and she’s the most jealous of all mistresses.
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