New study finds loss of glyphosate would harm U.S. ag sector
A new study from Aimpoint Research finds that the loss of the widely used herbicide glyphosate would be costly to farmers, the economy, and the environment. The global strategic intelligence firm released the report “A Future Without Glyphosate” in early July 2023.
Aimpoint Research Chief Operations Officer Colonel (retired) Mark Purdy says if glyphosate was no longer available many farmers indicated they would turn to tillage for weed control. “What a tool glyphosate has been for farmers and conservation practices,” he says. “Especially minimum till no-till cover cropping and really the ability to cover crop and double crop.”
Ag analyst Dave Juday with the Juday Group says there would also be economic impacts for farmers. “The alternatives are about 2 to 2 1/2 times as expensive per acre as an input for weed control,” he says. He tells Brownfield the increased tillage raises production costs by more than $1.9 billion. “Which includes more passes across the field and higher horsepower and diesel fuel needed to pull a disc or plow across the field,” he says.
Purdy says it would take time for farmers to adapt their management practices. “Not that it would return to normal, but after about a four-year period there would be some level of equilibrium,” he says. “Because at first there just won’t be the alternatives available.” He says the study shows U.S. agriculture, specifically corn, would be less competitive globally. “In Brazil, their glyphosate usage is actually on par, or slightly above that of the United States,” he says. “There’s no indication that Brazil would walk away from this tool.”
Increased production costs would also add to inflationary pressures and raise food prices for consumers.
The study, commissioned by Bayer, also concluded that small farmers would be disproportionately affected by the increases in input and operating costs.
AUDIO: Interview with Mark Purdy and Dave Juday