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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Letter to the Editor - Feds push engineered grasses

It seemed a harmless enough thing to do, sowing beet seeds across the region's farms – what could go wrong?  Velvet leaf, that's what. 
  The pest plant, one of the most damaging known to farming, arrived in Southland mixed with the beet seeds and set off the emergency bells as soon as it was discovered. The cost of weeding it out was enormous and hasn't ended yet. 
  Two years earlier, it was the turn of swedes, mutagenically altered swede seeds immune to herbicide, sown across Southland farms causing more anxiety, expense and the deaths of hundreds of dairy cows. 
  These agricultural disasters are coming faster and faster, as farming intensifies. 
  Now, it's the turn of genetically-modified pasture grasses. They're not in Southland yet, but they'll be here soon, if Federated Farmers' president Dr William Rolleston gets his way. He has been pushing for the introduction of genetically-engineered grasses into our farmland for some time and now he's increasing the pressure on the New Zealand public to accept these unnatural seeds. 
  Did he miss the news reports about the velvetleaf crisis? Was he not listening when talk down here was all about cows dying after eating mutagenic swedes? 
  Could someone please bring Dr Rolleston up to speed?

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