The removal of the immediate threat of any potential ban on the use of glyphosate has illicit a statement from Rothamsted Research outing its aims for future and current research.
Jonathan Storkey, Plant Ecologist and Leader of Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems (ASSIST), one of Rothamsted’s five strategic research programmes: “The negative impacts of pesticides on the environment mean that reducing their use should continue to be a policy and research aim.
“However, the level of food production and affordability of food we have become accustomed to cannot be currently maintained without chemical crop protection products. While every effort should be taken to reduce the risk of pesticides to human health and the environment, therefore, these risks need to be balanced against the benefits they bring in terms of food security.
“In the context of this difficult balancing act, I believe the renewal of the approval of glyphosate is to be cautiously welcomed and is the right decision. In terms of direct toxicity on non-target organisms, it is relatively benign, and it is an important mainstay of weed control.
“Some weed species that have evolved resistance to other herbicides would become extremely difficult to control without glyphosate and it is particularly useful in cropping systems that minimise soil disturbance which itself brings environmental benefits.
“That said, the scrutiny of glyphosate emphasises the importance of finding ways to control weeds that are less reliant on chemical control – a goal that is a focus of weed scientists at Rothamsted.”