About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Recent Studies on Benefits of Biotech Crops Featured Article

Three recent studies – of biotech crops in Brazil, Argentina and India – all note the benefits of crops with biotechnology traits. 

Celeres Ambiental, a consulting firm based in Brazil, looked at the impact of GM cotton, GM corn and herbicide-resistant soybeans for Brazilian farmers. The study, undertaken for the Brazilian Seed and Seedling Association, evaluated both the economic benefits to the farmers who have adopted biotechnology as well as the environmental benefits to society.  

The study found that for every $1 that the farmer invested in biotech seed, Brazilian farmers obtained an incremental return that averaged US$ 2.61 … Full Article »

Doubling Yield and Saving 30% on Seed Costs Featured Article

Like many farmers in his village, Indian farmer Jamuna Lal mixed corn seed with fertilizer and spread it over his field. He also used a traditional planting method of a bullock-drawn plough based system.Using this method results in the random spacing of seeds and direct contact with fertilizer—both factors which decrease yield. 

After seeing farmers experiment with mechanization, Lal decided to join a project that introduced him to a new sowing and fertilizing drill that would revolutionize his farming practice. The seed and fertilizer drill was developed as part of Project SHARE (Sustainable Harvest: Agriculture, Resources and Environment), a partnership … Full Article »

NAS Study: Indian Farmers Benefit from GM Cotton Featured Article

A report from Voice of America caught our attention this week: “Farmers Benefit from Insect-Killing Cotton.” It was a report that said researchers had determined that farmers in India using insect-resistant cotton had 24 percent high yields and 50 percent higher profits than those who didn’t. 

The article simply cited a “new study.” We clicked on that link, and found ourselves at PNAS.org – the web site for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The specific link was to an abstract of the study by two researchers at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development … Full Article »

Who are you most afraid of – Darth Vader, Ninjas or Monsanto employees?

It happens. You create images of people and places you’ve never seen or met. And with some of the things that get said about Monsanto, it wouldn’t surprise me if some people said they were more afraid of Monsanto employees than they are of Darth Vader or ninjas. When I read a blog post, by a person I consider a friend through social media, that said something about the way she generally pictured my Monsanto colleagues and me in darkness. I have to admit to being a bit surprised. But more than that, I so appreciate her willingness to … Full Article »

Reaching Indian Farmers on Pink Bollworm Resistance

Mention of the words “insect resistance” can cause panic; particularly among farmers growing a crop that can be devastated by the insects developing resistance. To farmers, insect resistance means the technology that prevents them from having to spray round-after-round of insecticide is in jeopardy. To farmers who rely on selling that crop to feed their families, resistance endangers their livelihoods.

In 2010, resistance to pink bollworm was detected in five districts of Gujarat state, threatening the crops of more than five million farmers who planted Bollgard® and Bollgard II® cotton in India. The detection also meant concerns could heighten … Full Article »

Indian Farmers Producing More, Conserving More and Improving Lives with Better Technology

Lal pours seed into the Project SHARE drill

By Sara Duncan

Indian farmer Jamuna Lal had always planted his corn crop the same way: he mixed the corn seed with the fertilizer and spread it out over the field. Like many farmers in his village, he also used a traditional method of a bullock-drawn indigenous plough based system. Using this method results in the random spacing of seeds and direct contact with fertilizer—both factors decrease yield.

After seeing farmers experiment with mechanization, Lal decided to join a project that introduced him to a new sowing and fertilizing drill that would … Full Article »

Reasons Why We Do Need GM Foods: The World is Bigger Than Your House

I have always liked the concept of empathy–or putting yourself into another’s shoes. I truly believe we would have a better world if people only make a little effort to look for different perspectives and realities before opening their mouth or doing things.

Let’s try an exercise. Close your eyes and picture yourself trying to survive with less that $1 a day. Can you do it? Ha! Pretty hard, especially if you were lucky enough to have been born and/or live in a developed country where–even in the middle of an economic crisis–a good dinner and a decent place to … Full Article »

Indian Farmer Suicide – The Bottom Line

Suicide is a difficult subject to discuss, as many of us are likely to know someone who’s taken their own life. This is a particularly emotional topic, and I hope to show due respect and sensitivity for those affected by such a tragedy.

Unfortunately, there have been some sensational allegations lately about farmer suicide rates in India. Speculative reports spawned mostly by anti-GMO groups–not pro-farming groups–have implied that these tragic farmer suicides have somehow become an epidemic since the introduction of biotech cotton in 2002. This is simply not true. The activists’ reports largely ignore many complex cultural, environmental … Full Article »