A wheat farmer weighs in on Wheat Belly

Keith Lewis, a wheat farmer, left this insightful comment about modern wheat growing practices:

You conclude in your book that modern wheat breeding has dramatically changed the nutritional value of wheat. Modern wheat farming has as well.

I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest.

A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such.

This practice is not licensed. Farmers mistakenly call it “dessication.” Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting aside, malt barley which is made into beer is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with preharvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with preharvest roundup….. but wheat is ok.. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.

I went on a wheat and refined sugar free diet before I read your excellent book. I lost 30 lbs in three months. What a remarkable change…… In my 69th year I have never felt better.

In Wheat Belly, I focused on the changes introduced into the plant itself. But there are other aspects of wheat beyond the genetics and biochemistry of the plant, such as bleaching agents, pesticides, additives, and residues of herbicides like Roundup, as Mr. Lewis points out.

How much worse can this thing get?

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70 Responses to A wheat farmer weighs in on Wheat Belly

  1. Greg says:

    The reason malsters don’t want roundup sprayed on the barley is because it kills the germ of the barley thus making it no good for malt.It will do the same to any grain if sprayed too early before harvest.Ask any farmer that has used it .Yum the products made from this should be healthy.

  2. Max says:

    20 odd years ago I worked on a farm growing potatoes, onions and watermelon. Roundup was used as a desiccant here too to enable easier harvesting. I was stunned.

  3. keith lewis says:

    Walt, you got it right, my farm is in Saskatchewan Canada, the ‘ wheat province”. We produce wheat and export around the world including the US. The practice of applying glyphosate preharvest is common in the spring wheat growing areas in western Canada and North Dakota. Perhaps preharvest application of glyphosate is not licenced in Kansas. As I understand the politics of Roundup Ready wheat registration, your National Assn ot Wheat Growers has endorsed the introduction of RR wheat in the US. Monsanto is ready to roll.

    • Walt says:

      Keith, as I said, there is no market reason to do so here – why add additional inputs that serve no purpose. Kansas produces over twice the tonnage of Wheat as the entirety of Canada, the wheat is mostly hard red (and white) winter wheat, and it is harvested in mid-to-late June. Again, there is really no reason to use RRW here at all.

      So, while the National Association may have endorsed the idea of RRW, no one here is planting it (based on both my anecdotal knowledge and from the K-State extension office reports). In other words, the overwhelming majority of wheat consumed in the US is not the RR variety nor is it harvested using this technique.

      I believe you are honest about your experiences, but what you are doing is called a Fallacy of composition – I don”t think it”s necessary nor productive to use fallacious reasoning to persuade.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ Walt

        No offense but I’ll take the word of farmers over your review of some office reports and anecdotal knowledge.

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