Glyphosate reapproval - we need your help

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Glyphosate, the active ingredient in wide spectrum herbicides such as Round-up, is currently up for re-approval in Europe. NFU needs your help to explain to MEP's the importance of glyphosate to UK farmers.

This re-approval process is standard practise and products must be assessed in terms of their safety for humans, animals and the environment at least once every decade. The European Commission holds responsibility for this re-approval, however the official vote in the standing committee where the decision is made was recently delayed. Now the debate surrounding glyphosate has caught the attention of MEP's and its re-approval will be voted on in the European Parliament on Wednesday 13th April. This vote is not legally binding and responsibility for re-approval will still rest with the Commission, but we want to ensure the debate remains focused on scientific evidence and does not get further politicised.

How can you get involved?

NFU is encouraging members to email or write to their MEP's to explain the importance of glyphosate to their farm business. You can find out who your local MEP is here, or you can contact your local NFU office.

What should your letter say?

This is up to you - the letters which have the most impact tend to have a personal touch and focus on you, and your farm business. The NFU has prepared some points for inclusion to help get your letter started but some areas you might want to think about:

  • What you use glyphosate for and why is it important to your farm business
  • What stewardship measures you take - are you a Red Tractor member and hence have an annual audit, do you engage with the Voluntary Initiative, do you engage with CPD schemes e.g. NRoSO.
  • What impact would losing access to glyphosate have on your business - this could be economic or agronomic

We have also produced a briefing which you can enclose with your letter, this gives the MEP further information about the re-registration process and highlights the key benefits obtained by using glyphosate.

What's the deadline for this?

MEP's will be voting on this issue during the afternoon of Wednesday 13th April  so we encourage you to get your letter or email sent in good time.

  • Posted by: Peter DewsPosted on: 05/04/2016 09:57:03

    Comment: As an agronomist advising farmers in the Central South Midlands of the U.K., I would like to state that the approval of glyphosate inspraying cropped and non cropped areas is wholly fundamental for the production of food in the Uk and also the EU. Without the form of a broad spectrumweedkiller such as glyphosate, Food production will be severely jeopardised and both costs will escalate and an increase in the use of fossil fuels will increase. A ban on the use of glyphosate will also be wholly detrimental to EU food security . Restrictions of use maybe, a ban on use disastrous.
  • Posted by: John Scott Posted on: 06/04/2016 08:14:26

    Comment: Glyphosate is clearly being over used, this is what has caused the current debate. We should agree to a restriction on its use for pre-cultivation only not pre-harvest. Glyphosate should be sprayed on weeds not crops
  • Posted by: Blackstock Farms LidPosted on: 06/04/2016 12:13:17

    Comment: Glyphosate is a very important tool, that not only saves labour but enables clean harvesting of apples and cider fruit., and must be retained.
  • Posted by: John BallPosted on: 07/04/2016 09:03:04

    Comment: Glyphosate is an important part of any weed control strategy on most crop grown in the UK in agriculture. We currently have number of highly competitive weeds which are most affectively controlled by using glyphosate and the lost of this active would have a detrimental effect on the ability to grow crops profitably in certain areas of the UK and put more pressure on an industry which is already struggling to survive. With the recent introduction of Sustainable uses directive which has delivered the end to grandfather rights, MOT testing of sprayers, and with the added benefit of NROSO training the UK is already in a great position to ensure that glyphosate is used in the correct way and getting to the desired target, the agricultural industry is not in the business of wasting money. The removal of glyphosate from the industry would result in increase in production costs, using more agro-chemicals use, reduction of crop yields just to highlight a few. There needs to be further in-depth scientific research, balanced with what is essential in the industry not just a political decision made on a whim. My final point is with glyphosate gone would we achieve the 20 tonnes of wheat per hectare within the next 20 years ensuring food security?
  • Posted by: Chris WallworkPosted on: 08/04/2016 18:12:46

    Comment: Everything we do has risks and benefits and it is worth understanding where glyphosate fits into that spectrum. Even if you accept the IARC interpretation (about which there is clear disagreement by independent experts), this places glyphosate into the same risk category (category 2A) as eating red meat, exposure to emissions from high temperature frying and occupational exposure by hairdressers. If these (and the risks posed by glyphosate) are all unacceptable to you, you should call for them all to be banned. But don't "cherry pick" just because you are a vegetarian, believe in not cutting hair, or don't like pesticides or fried food. You can find the IARC monographs on all those via a simple internet search. Happy reading!
  • Posted by: James HarePosted on: 11/04/2016 12:50:35

    Comment: Glyphosate is used responsibly by most farmers and landowners. It is applied in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines to prevent drift or pollution incidents. All staff who use the product are qualified to do so.
  • Posted by: John Penty / Penty FarmingPosted on: 11/04/2016 16:28:02

    Comment: This ban should be annulled.
  • Posted by: G M WrightPosted on: 11/04/2016 17:19:21

    Comment: Glyphosate is a vital tool in our kit bag. With commodity prices at this level we are direct drilling and it is a key part of our weed control strategy.
  • Posted by: Ron GrangerPosted on: 11/04/2016 17:33:52

    Comment: Glyphosate is an essential tool for the insurance of cost effective food production both in the UK and the world. We have been told to increase crop production for an ever growing population and yet the essential tools for achieving this target are being removed faster than what we can physically replace? Science has to work side by side with best practice - and political decisions should be based on fact not interpretation.
  • Posted by: John MarlandPosted on: 11/04/2016 18:25:48

    Comment: John Marland Yeoman farme Glyphosate is a most useful chemical not just for farming and horticulture sectors but also aquatic environment and amenity use. It would be an enormous loss and lead to its replacement with for less suitable and safe alternatives
  • Posted by: W.J.Bates and sonsPosted on: 11/04/2016 19:16:12

    Comment: I think the anti GM brigade are behind this campaign
  • Posted by: Peter ChapmanPosted on: 11/04/2016 23:15:08

    Comment: I am a arable farmer in the northeast growing osr wheat barley. Glyphosate is a very important chemical to us and any farms armoury to control couch and black grass a host of other weeds giant hog weed, Japanese knotweed very limited control from any other chemicals none as safe or enviormently friendly .Farming without glyphosate would be a huge set back of many years. All farmers have to be trained and tested to use chemical sprays also the equipment is tested. So please use risk not just hazard and re-approve this vital chemical.
  • Posted by: Richard HartleyPosted on: 12/04/2016 09:53:36

    Comment: Glyphosate is fundamental to our crop production, its absence would lead to a drastic increase in machinery, fuel and labour costs for crop establishment not to mention its ability to control pernicious weeds. Surely its use is a net gain to the environment considering the alternatives.
  • Posted by: jilly greedPosted on: 12/04/2016 11:19:43

    Comment: We are in the first year of a zero tillage transition on a 600 acre arable and suckler beef enterprise with 250 head of suckler cows and followers. This is to achieve sustainability as well as look after the soil, fungi and all the many birds and insects that will benefit from this system as well as protect river water quality. Without glyphosate we are doomed. Please consider the wider holistic picture and those farmers who are going a further step in ecological and farm sustainability!
  • Posted by: John wookeyPosted on: 12/04/2016 11:28:48

    Comment: No glyphosate no min till or direct drilling, is this environmentally friendly ?
  • Posted by: Geoffrey JohnsonPosted on: 12/04/2016 11:31:15

    Comment: There will be enormous difficulty in keeping the footpaths of Britain clear for the walkers if glyphosate is banned
  • Posted by: M S MorrisPosted on: 12/04/2016 11:36:30

    Comment: A complete disaster for agriculture is glyphosate is banned. I have always regarded this chemical as the safest we use and is widely on sale to the general public in garden centres etc!
  • Posted by: Richard TonguePosted on: 12/04/2016 11:36:57

    Comment: We farm an arable and suckler unit in the Cotswolds. We are also part of Cotswold wild bird scheme of HLS. Glyphosate is an essential tool in our control of grass weeds, on our arable land and the areas cropped specifically for wild bird habitat and food. Our arable system uses reduced cultivations to improve soil structure and Glyphosate is a critical part of our ability to economically grow crops on our land. In the wild bird habitat areas Glyphosate allows us to establish the mixes whose seeds are often very small and cannot compete with grass weeds. I am not sure how we would get on if this product was withdrawn.
  • Posted by: Graham SkinnerPosted on: 12/04/2016 12:04:48

    Comment: I am an arable farmer in Kent growing winter & spring wheat & oilseed rape. We rely on Glyphosate for a good clean up between crops to effectively control a variety of weeds volunteers & unwanted regrowth. Without this tool in our chemical amoury we would be faced with much more expensive options both for chemical & mechanical weed control without the reliability & safety that Glyphosate offers. It is avery useful dessicant & Good for control of foreign weeds. We need this chemical.
  • Posted by: Paul BakerPosted on: 12/04/2016 12:37:18

    Comment: Glyphosate is one of the most vital chemicals we have in today's arable farming. Black grass is a Hugh problem and is only going to get bigger without the use of glyphosate. It is used safely and responsibly because of Red tractor assurance and NROSO schemes!! It is a vital chemical.
  • Posted by: john kirbyPosted on: 12/04/2016 13:24:46

    Comment: very very important agronomically and financially
  • Posted by: Oliver DowdingPosted on: 12/04/2016 14:50:28

    Comment: I sympathise with those who want to see the retention of glyphosate. Many have become totally dependent upon it and don't know how to farm without it. There is no pretence that that would be easy. However desperate people are to hang onto it, it doesn't alter the situation with regard to its safety and impact upon our soils and the environment, never mind the people who consume what we produce. This is a very instructive article. Had there been more openness and less industry influence in the beginning, and a much more rigourous and realistic safety assessment, we may not be here today having this argument. It is also "unfortunate" that there have been so many key personnel in Monsanto et al interchanging jobs with the USDA et al.
  • Posted by: John PreecePosted on: 12/04/2016 17:04:19

    Comment: If we lose glyphosate we will be sent back to the dark ages, l remember what life was like before it came on the market, please fight to keep it, these so called green boffins who are trying to get it removed should wake up to the costs of the alternative --- higher fuel costs, many more hours working ground. Couch, black grass, and many other horrible weeds will be almost impossible to control. R.I.P. to farming as we know it. The lunatics are surely taking over the asylum.
  • Posted by: Rupert Weston. Marsh Leys ltd.Posted on: 12/04/2016 17:27:37

    Comment: Our Farm system uses zero till for growing our cereal crops and sowing of oil seed rape and other cover crops. And seed bed preparation needs round-up before sowing commences.
  • Posted by: John BrightmorePosted on: 12/04/2016 18:29:19

    Comment: Why take away valuable products from an industry suffering severe financial problems? Too much is surrendered to pressure groups, we suffer from weak leadership at every level, we don't earn enough to need tax dodges, which seems to be the one thing this country is good at.
  • Posted by: Richard ThomasPosted on: 12/04/2016 19:13:13

    Comment: Glyphosate is one of the most important chemicals used in farming, not only in the UK and EU, but in the world. Like all chemicals its use is controlled and managed by legislation and responsible farmers. It is very important to UK agriculture in the wide variety of ways mentioned by all contributors. We specifically leave and rotate wild areas on our farm for wildlife. Without glyphosate bringing these areas back in to agricultural production will be significantly more difficult and it may be unviable to create them in the first place. That is just one drawback I can think of. Further more is the EU realistically going to ban import of all products where glyphosate has been involved in their production? I very much doubt it, but If they are prepared to do that, them perhaps the resulting rise in price of grain will incentivise UK and EU agriculture to farm without it. UK agriculture must be able to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world, banning glyphosate without associated trade bans will severely damage our ability to do so.
  • Posted by: John mawdsleyPosted on: 12/04/2016 21:16:51

    Comment: We are arable farmers growing potatoes on peat soils, we rely on the use of glyphosate to clean up all stubbles to be free from weeds, grasses and reduce wire worm, as our potatoes go for washed pre packs. Without glyphosate we would not be able to grow quality washed potatoes.
  • Posted by: John MossPosted on: 12/04/2016 21:17:26

    Comment: We are arable contractors and farmers Cornwall/Devon borders pursuing direct drilling and zero tillage in effort to improve our soils, reduce our diesel consumption and hopefully improve our environment for birds and humans alike. Without GLYPHOSATE with returns were they are at present, just as well shut up shop!!
  • Posted by: Vicky Mackay Posted on: 13/04/2016 08:47:17

    Comment: I don't understand why we have to go to Brussels for a decision that is for here uk , I am voteting no so we can get back to being our own country I'm feed up with the fact we have to ask others or get told from others that we have to be told yes or no , no we don't want this weed keeler back its bad stuff .
  • Posted by: Peter J G Seaman. CJC LEE (SAXTHORPE) LTD.Posted on: 13/04/2016 09:49:24

    Comment: Glyphosate is a valuble spray especialy for volantier potatoes.
  • Posted by: Sir Thomas StockdalePosted on: 13/04/2016 23:44:13

    Comment: As an arable farmer using direct drilling Glycosophate is a key part of our weed control strategy, and I support every word of the comments made by Edward Jones on 01/04/2016 at 15.07
  • Posted by: Andrew JacobsPosted on: 14/04/2016 08:18:30

    Comment: As a responsible farmer who is always trying to to do things better and as enviromentaly friendly as possible the loss of glyphosate would be devasting in already difficult times not least due to the limited abilities to control black grass coupled with the loss of other actives for the control of nearly every pest, disease and weed on the farm. I use a combination of techniques to reduce my reliance on chemicals and improve my carbon footprint and the environment . Rotational plough, minimum tillage , direct drilling , strip tillage , guided band spraying , stale seed beds , low drift technology , satellite guidance and probably more. To take away an active that is used on predominately out of crop targeting is absurd. Is food production to a level required to feed our growing population to be ignored and further extensified so as to put more previously uncultivated natural habitat around the world into danger. I hopefully rest my case.