Scientists’ and policymakers’ concerns mount as weed resistance to glyphosate increases

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Concerns about the world’s most popular herbicide continue to mount, as U.S. agricultural experts note spreading weed resistance to glyphosate.

As the key ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup herbicide products as well as about 700 other products, glyphosate is widely used on farms as well as residential lawns.

But the chemical has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years in part because scientists and environmentalists have warned that weed resistance to glyphosate has become a significant problem that impacts crop production.

In the latest account of glyphosate-resistant weeds, U.S. weed scientist Dallas Peterson said this week that resistance is increasing rapidly in the key farming state of Kansas. The trend is a worrisome sign as weed resistance spreads from the southern U.S. into the Midwest and Plains farming states, he said.

Weeds can choke off nutrients to crops hurting production, and raise costs for farmers who often use added chemicals or other means to combat the troublesome weeds.

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Weed resistance across U.S. farmland is becoming such a significant problem that a briefing on the matter is being planned for Dec. 4.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that reliance on glyphosate by many farmers is the primary factor for the problem. Fourteen glyphosate-resistance weed species have so far been documented in U.S. crop production areas, according to USDA.

Monsanto and DowAgroSciences are bringing new combinations herbicides to market. Peterson warned, however, that tests at KSU showed that these combinations still had trouble controlling weeds.

Both companies said research shows their new herbicide combinations are highly effective, but they also advise farmers to use multiple strategies to fight the troublesome weeds.

Read full, original post: CORRECTED-Herbicide scrutiny mounts as resistant weeds spread in U.S.

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