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Asian farmers would see annual weed control costs increase by $1.4 to $1.9 billion due to potential restrictions on glyphosate use, new study reports

Published on: 25th March 2019
Published By Graham Brookes



25th March 2019, Dorchester, UK:  A new paper published in the journal Agbioforum (1) points to higher weed control costs, less effective weed control, more difficult access to fields and lower yields, if farmers in seven Asian countries could no longer use glyphosate.

The peer reviewed paper written by Graham Brookes of PG Economics Ltd examined the current use of glyphosate, the reasons for its use and what changes farmers would make to their weed control programs if glyphosate was no longer available for use. Seven countries were included in the study – Australia, China, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand – as these were representative of countries where glyphosate use in agriculture is significant, countries that may be considering use restrictions for glyphosate and countries where farmers are planting glyphosate tolerant crops.

Glyphosate is widely used for weed control across Asia and few alternatives are available that provide equivalent levels of performance in field and plantation crops. Without access to glyphosate, farmers reported they would use additional herbicide combinations and/or rely on mechanical/hand weeding options. These alternatives would have significant impacts including reduced weed control, increased pest levels, reduced access to fields and higher weed control costs.

The study estimates that annual weed control costs would increase across the seven countries by between $1.4 billion and $1.9 billion, with average increases in cost ranging from $22/ha to $30/ha. This is a significant increase in production costs and if the potential impact of lower yields is included, this represents an important loss of global competitiveness for farmers who lose access to glyphosate.

The economic and environmental benefits of planting glyphosate tolerant corn and cotton in Australia, Philippines and Vietnam will also be lost. Without glyphosate, farmers will be less able to realise the environmental benefits of no and reduced tillage such as a lower levels of carbon emissions, less soil erosion and greater soil moisture content.

For additional information, contact Graham Brookes at Tel +44(0) 1432 851007. www.pgeconomics.co.uk

[1] Graham Brookes (2019) Glyphosate use in Asia and implications of possible restrictions on its use. Agbioforum, online advance publication, 1-27 http://www.agbioforum.org/v22n1/v22n1-brookes.pdf

Graham Brookes: 25th Mar 2019 10:04:00

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New Paper Quantifies 15 Years Of Economic And Environmental Benefits From Using Biotech-gm Crops In Colombia[1]

Highlights in the peer reviewed[2] paper include: About 1 million hectares have been planted to cotton and maize containing GM traits in Colombia since 2003 and in 2018, the technology was used on the equivalent of 90% and 36% respectively of the total cotton and (commercial) maize crops. Use of this technology has enabled Colombian farmers to obtain higher yields from better pest and weed control (+30.2% from using stacked - herbicide tolerant and insect resistant cotton and +17.4% from using stacked maize). The extra production and reduced cost of pest and weed control have provided maize farmers with higher incomes equal to an average of US $294/ha and an average return on investment equal to +US $5.25 for each extra US $1 spent on GM maize seed relative to conventional seed. For cotton farmers, the average increase in income has been + US $358/ha, with an average return on investment equal to +US $3.09 for each extra US $1 spent on GM seed relative to conventional seed. Farm incomes have increased by a total of just over US $300 million since 2003. The cotton and maize seed technology have reduced insecticide and herbicide spraying by 779,400 kg of active ingredient (-19%) and, as a result, decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on these crops (as measured by the indicator, the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ)) by 26%. The technology has also facilitated cuts in fuel use, resulting in a reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the GM cotton and maize cropping area and contributed to saving scarce land resources.

Asian Farmers Would See Annual Weed Control Costs Increase By $1.4 To $1.9 Billion Due To Potential Restrictions On Glyphosate Use, New Study Reports

A new paper published in the journal Agbioforum (1) points to higher weed control costs, less effective weed control, more difficult access to fields and lower yields, if farmers in seven Asian countries could no longer use glyphosate. The peer reviewed paper written by Graham Brookes of PG Economics Ltd examined the current use of glyphosate, the reasons for its use and what changes farmers would make to their weed control programs if glyphosate was no longer available for use. Seven countries were included in the study – Australia, China, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand – as these were representative of countries where glyphosate use in agriculture is significant, countries that may be considering use restrictions for glyphosate and countries were farmers are planting glyphosate tolerant crops.

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New published research paper - Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) Crop use 1996–2016: Impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions - GMO, active ingredient, biotech crops, carbon sequestration, environmental impact quotient, no tillage, pesticide