Superweeds Threaten U.S. Farms

Spray-resistant superweeds hit the U.S. farm belt hard, with big issues for food and chemicals.

A tractor plows weeds from between rows of cotton near Lubbock, Texas, Tuesday, June 8, 2004. (AP)

In the last couple of decades, chemicals and genetics have radically changed much of American farming. 

Monsanto’s “Round-up” killed every weed in the field, and left Round-up-impervious, genetically-modified crops to thrive. Plowing, tilling – unnecessary. Crop rotation – optional. 

But nature and evolution did not go away. Now, a new generation of weeds – “superweeds” – has evolved. 

Round-up doesn’t kill them. Some fierce old chemicals are being dusted off. And old tilling, too. 

This Hour, On Point: Back to hoes. U.S. agriculture, and the evolution of superweeds.


Anita Dille, agronomist and professor of weed ecology at Kansas State University.

Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program.

Eddie Anderson, farmer in Dyersburg, TN.

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