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Corn Time Bomb

The U.S. is the No. 1 producer of corn, so when a story comes along suggesting that there is a looming problem for production, we should probably pay attention.

In this case the underlying problem is “super weeds” that are beginning to encroach on corn production. To fight the super weeds, you have to use pretty strong weed killer that not only kills the problem plants, but also hurts the corn. But now, a Dow chemical subsidiary has developed new strain of corn resistant to the weed killer. Problem solved, right?

Maybe not. Environmentalists and producers outside of the corn business worry that widespread use of the new corn, called Enlist, would encourage over-use of the strong weed killer, leading to damage to other crops and the development of even more super-weeds.

Steve Smith, director of agriculture at Indiana-based Red Gold, the world's largest processor of canned tomatoes, called the issue a "ticking time bomb."

Regulators are in the last stages of considering the argument, which is coming amid ongoing drought and storage concerns about the corn crop.

Photo: Getty Images