Weed Science (2020) 68, 214-222
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Pesticide regulation in the European Union and the glyphosate controversy
Weed Science 68 (3), 214-222
Abstract: The glyphosate controversy before the renewal of the authorization of glyphosate in the European Union (EU) once again turned the spotlight on pesticide regulation in the EU. In the EU, pesticides are attracting more public attention than in other parts of the world, and many nongovernmental organizations specifically target pesticide regulation, trying to influence politicians and other decision makers. Following an overview of the EU pesticide legislation and the impact hitherto on EU agriculture, this paper outlines the glyphosate controversy and presents the outcome of desk studies conducted in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Sweden on the potential effects of a glyphosate ban on agricultural productivity and farm income. All studies concluded that the loss of income depends very much on farm type and cropping practice, but they all reached the conclusion that particularly no-tillage farming/conservation agriculture will be facing severe problems without glyphosate to control weeds and terminate cover crops. No-tillage/conservation agriculture is viewed as an effective strategy to prevent soil erosion and loss of nutrients, which could become larger problems without glyphosate. Other issues highlighted in the studies were the impact on resistance management, as glyphosate is largely seen as a "herbicide-resistance breaker." Without glyphosate, fundamental changes in farming practices in the EU are required, and it is hard to imagine that they will come without a cost, at least in the short term.
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