Just as Roundup Ready alfalfa has received an important approval to help clear its path toward usage, sugarbeet growers are left wondering what will happen with Roundup Ready sugarbeets in 2011. One judge ordered that the genetically modified beets needed to be destroyed, only to see another court block that ruling.
One of the effects of Roundup Ready crops is that the traditional herbicides used to control weeds in conventional crops are used less. As a result, manufacturers scale back on production of those products.
What we’re hearing now is that with the uncertainty of Roundup Ready sugarbeets is that these conventional herbicides could be in short demand and become very expensive if plantings of Roundup Ready sugarbeets is denied in 2011.
So what might be the impact? Higher production costs certainly could cause growers to switch to corn, soybeans, small grains or other crops, many of which have been soaring in price lately in the commodity markets. And could that mean a shortage of sugar eventually in the U.S.?
I don’t know the answer, and perhaps I’m looking to much down the road. Somehow, I find it unlikely that Roundup Ready sugarbeets won’t be banned from plantings in 2011.
What I do know is that for every action, there is a reaction. We’ll have to wait and see what eventually is the end game for Roundup Ready sugarbeets and how that impacts agriculture in 2011.