Is Glyphosate Harming Your No-Tilled Soils?

Researchers say the widely used herbicide is lingering longer than previously thought and could negatively impact soil and plant health.

Pictured Above: OUT OF BALANCE. Numerous research studies in recent years have concluded that glyphosate molecules, which experts say are difficult to break down, are hanging around in the environment longer than anticipated and causing non-target impacts on agricultural soils and plants

Glyphosate and Roundup Ready crops have played a key role in the growth of agriculture and even helped boost adoption of no-till practices. Farmers don’t have to plow to kill weeds and can let the herbicide do the work.

Glyphosate and Roundup Ready corn and soybeans are still very popular. In fact, 86% of No-Till Farmer readers said in the magazine’s 2017 Benchmark Operational Study they would plant Roundup Ready corn this year, and 80% would plant Roundup Ready soybeans. Some 92% of readers planned to use glyphosate for weed control this year, and 81% planned to use glyphosate in a tank mix with other chemistries.

But there may be trouble on the horizon for glyphosate. When measured by pounds applied per square mile, the use of glyphosate has increased from less than 1 million pounds in 1974 to 28 million pounds in 1995, and 80 million pounds in 2010. Between 1974 and 2014, 3 billion pounds of glyphosate has been applied to U.S. agricultural lands, according to federal data.

Glyphosate is typically neutralized and degraded by soil microbes after a period of time. But in the last 5 years, evidence seems to be mounting through a number of research studies that the herbicide is lingering in the…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein was senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings