A new report suggests that the removal of glyphosate from the farming toolbox would have negative financial impacts for farmers and cost the environment, as well.
The report, “A Future Without Glyphosate,” was authored by Aimpoint Research and funded by Bayer. In it, authors looked at the complexities of glyphosate’s impact on agriculture and outlined what the future could look like without it.
Due to its non-selective, cost-effective weed control, glyphosate has been key to successful adoption of zero or no-till practices in both Canada and the U.S. The report predicts that the use of alternative chemistries for weed control would cause a 2 to 2.5 times increase in cost per acre, while switching to tillage could increase production costs by over US$1.9 billion.
While farmers may be financially impacted, the report does quantify impacts to the environment as a result of reduced rates of zero or no-till production.
Increased tillage could disrupt soil health and increase erosion and emissions, with a potential release of 33.72 million tons of CO2 equivalent, the report suggests. The authors also assume that farmers would decrease double cropping and cover cropping, further reducing soil carbon capture and impacting renewable fuels.
The report highlights that the adoption of conservation, reduced, or zero tillage has reduced soil particle movement and soil quality degradation by reducing water, wind, and tillage erosion.
Those interested in reading the report can request a copy, here.