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On Your Table Blog

April 24, 2018

Life before GMOs

Wanda shares what it was like

Life before GMOs

Wanda Patsche, who blogs at Minnesota Farm Living, is a farmer who vividly remembers life before GMOs. Read her story:

Life Before GMOs - BT Corn

BT corn is a GMO technology that provides much-needed insect control over the corn borer moth. Prior to using BT corn I vividly remember driving on our gravel roads during warm summer nights and having our windshield splattered with the dreaded corn borer moth remains. Literally, we were driving through a sea of moths. With grimaced faces and teeth clenched, we tried to make ourselves feel better by telling ourselves it wasn't that bad. But in all reality, we knew it was.

The problem with the corn borer moth is the moth lays eggs in the corn plants. Corn borer caterpillars are born and they burrow into the stalk of the corn plant. The corn plant dies prematurely and the corn plant tips over with the ear of corn lying on the ground. The corn combine cannot pick up corn ears off the ground during harvest. Yields are significantly reduced because of the corn borer moth. And there were no viable options to reduce the damage from the moths.

Life After GMOs - BT Corn

When BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn was introduced, the new GMO technology had the capability to kill the corn borer larvae. Farmers were excited. Finally, we had a defense weapon that would help protect our crops. The corn plant would produce BT, which was lethal to the corn borer but not other insects or humans. BT is a protein found naturally in soils.

Once we started using BT corn, literally overnight, the corn borer moth problem was no more.

Check out Wanda's blog to read her before and after story about weeds on their farm!