Critics of conventional farming often decry the use of herbicides. Herbicides that are not organic anyway. That’s all fine and dandy, but the problem I see with the arguments some people present is they contain no substance. Take a look at this Facebook post on the Kellogg’s Facebook page that I shared to my blog page to get other’s response on.
We use glyphosate on our farm. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. We grow wheat. I have never seen our wheat germinate as poorly as the right half of that picture shows. And not over a wide area like a whole field that has a history of Roundup treatments. There could be any number of factors that contributed to the appearance of that wheat on the right — poor seed-to-soil contact at planting (important to get nutrients, water, etc to the seed), soil compaction (important to alleviate so the cotyledon & root can move through the soil), drought, pests, or a host of other problems. But I’m positive glyphosate is not the cause. I am positive based on lots of first-hand experience and education.
Currently there are no glyphosate-tolerant varieties of wheat on the market. So not only do farmers from all over grow fine wheat crops on soils where Roundup has been applied, the wheat isn’t even resistant to the herbicide in question! Let me explain how wheat and glyphosate both work on my farm.
Let’s say I want to plant a crop that isn’t glyphosate-tolerant, but I want to use it as a burndown treatment (that’s what we do in spring to get rid of weeds and make the field ready for a crop) to knock out weeds that have grown in a field between cash crops. How long would I have to wait before I plant my crop? My answer can be found on the Roundup FAQ page.
Annual Weeds: When applying Roundup WeatherMAX® under good growing conditions, seeding may start 4-6 hours later! For all other Roundup brand agricultural herbicides (or under stressful weather conditions), you must wait a minimum of 24 hours before seeding or working the land.
Perennial Weeds: With all Roundup brand agricultural herbicides we recommend that you wait 72 hours under good growing conditions before seeding or tillage. If it’s cool and cloudy wait an extra day before tillage so the herbicide has sufficient time to translocate to the roots of the weed.
There are significant amounts of research and development that goes into these label directions and although those are from an FAQ, they restate what is on the label. A label that is registered with the EPA and the USDA.
Don’t you think wheat farmers all over the United states would be pretty vocal if such a problem existed, or at least quit planting wheat in fields where glyphosate has been used to control weeds in the past? In certain instances glyphosate is sprayed on a growing wheat crop to ready the crop for harvest while managing weed pressure. For more this read Nurse Loves Farmer’s post The Truth about Glyphosate and Wheat.
We plant wheat and corn side-by-side at times, just like the photo above shows we did in 2012. This soil probably receives a glyphosate treatment at least once a year depending on the crop. The wheat has changed color because it’s nearly mature and ready for harvest.
Now I suppose you have no reason to believe what I say anymore than that Facebook photo. But I do hope I’ve been able to build a level of trust on this page by being honest and trying to show you why we use certain agronomic practices on our land. We have a lot of things to consider, even worry about, as we grow crops but the long-term effects of glyphosate is one I feel very comfortable with.
It would be easy to mislead people who may not know a lot about farming practices. And these well-meaning people could get worked up enough to share it with other people wanting to help a farmer like me out. I just hope they are also willing to listen to someone with first-hand experience too.
What do you think about the photo I shared? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!