Glyphosate stewardship aims to secure herbicide’s future

Farming organisations have joined forces to promote best practice to help ensure the continued availability of glyphosate-based herbicides.

Last November, the European Commission renewed the approval of glyphosate for five years following a bitter dispute over its safety.

To retain both the availability and efficacy of glyphosate in the UK for agriculture, horticulture, amenity and wider use, they say action is needed at ground level. 

See also: Video – farmers explain why glyphosate is vital

Key independent stakeholders AHDB, the NFU, the Agricultural Industries Confederation, and the Weed Resistance Action Group, have worked with industry companies in the UK, including Monsanto and Syngenta, to update stewardship guidance for growers.

A dedicated web page has been set up on the AHDB’s website, offering tips on best practice guidance which, when used alongside label recommendations, will help growers maintain glyphosate performance, minimise residues and protect water.

Paul Gosling, lead weed expert at AHDB, said: “The industry fought hard to retain glyphosate and now, with the herbicide’s immediate future secured, it is vital that residues are minimised and resistance risks are managed. 

“With planning for the 2022 renewal process already underway, glyphosate users must be proactive and follow best practice.”

Join the conversation

People with a responsibility for recommending and/or applying glyphosate products are also being invited to take part in a technical “conversation” at 1pm at Cereals 2018 on 13 June.

At the event, a panel of industry experts will discuss effective glyphosate use. The conversation will include a bigger picture look at the future of glyphosate, including its use in perennial crop and amenity systems, which have been identified as being at relatively high risk, in terms of resistance.

Five steps to effective glyphosate stewardship

  1. If you must use glyphosate pre-harvest to control weeds, always follow label recommendations to keep crop residues to a minimum
  2. To use glyphosate as a stale seed-bed management tool, the strategy is: one, prevent survivors; two, maximise efficacy; three, use alternatives; and four, monitor success
  3. Alternatives to glyphosate should be used whenever possible and more than two pre-drilling applications must always be avoided
  4. When applied, glyphosate should be at the right dose, at the right time and in the right conditions
  5. Any surviving weeds should not be treated with glyphosate again and any suspected resistance must always be reported and investigated.

Pre-harvest glyphosate use in cereals and oilseed rape

A single pre-harvest application of glyphosate per crop should not increase the risk (unless survivors are present from prior glyphosate applications).

  • Be sure your target market permits the use of glyphosate
  • Check and follow product labels
  • Follow best application practice (for maximum efficacy and drift reduction)
  • Only apply glyphosate as a harvest aid when the grain or seeds have less than 30% moisture content
  • Use the guidance in this publication to estimate moisture contents
  • Only target weeds that are green, healthy and actively growing

Glyphosate food residue levels ‘safe’

Scientists from Europe’s food safety watchdog have concluded glyphosate residues present in EU food samples are safe for human health.

The European Food Safety Authorityhas completed its review of the maximum levels of glyphosate that are legally permitted to be present in food, based on data on glyphosate residues in food submitted by all EU member states.

The maximum residue levels are set to ensure consumers continue to be protected against excessive quantities of glyphosate in their diet. They are based on an analysis of all existing authorised uses of the herbicide in the EU.

The review – covering all crops treated with glyphosate – includes a risk assessment which shows exposure levels are not expected to pose a risk to human health.