Science Wins Over Politics with Decision to Extend Glyphosate Use in Europe

When delegates from 27 countries making up the European Union (EU) Commission failed to find an agreeable position on the use of glyphosate, the agency went ahead and approved the use of this herbicide for the next 10 years.

Glyphosate was approved for European use with only a few new restrictions, including a ban on pre-harvest use as a desiccant, a ruling on maximum application rates and a few other constraints to protect the environment.

As you would guess, environmental groups were not happy with the agency’s decision. As an example, Greenpeace called on the EU to reject approval, citing studies indicating that glyphosate may cause cancer and other human health problems as well as being toxic to bees.

The EU decision was a huge relief to European farmers. There was a chance glyphosate would be banned completely, which would have been a huge blow to growers.

Here in the States. Data from No-Till Farmer’s 2023 benchmark study indicates 82% of U.S. no-tillers use glyphosate in corn and 85% use it in soybeans. With both no-till corn and soybeans, 78% of no-tillers also use tankmixes that include glyphosate.

Introduced in the 1970s, glyphosate has been a source of controversy since the World Health Organization’s cancer agency concluded in 2015 that the herbicide was probably carcinogenic to humans. At the same time, major regulatory agencies around the world have confirmed that glyphosate is safe.

“Glyphosate is an indispensable tool in the crop protection toolbox…”

A previous 5-year European approval for…

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Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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