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…