Oat buyer says no glyphosate pre-harvest

Grain Millers, a major oat buyer in Western Canada, will no longer purchase oats if the crop has been desiccated with glyphosate.

In an April 20 memo to Prairie oat growers, Grain Millers said the new policy was “driven by functional performance attributes of finished products manufactured from oats known to have been treated with glyphosate and by customer demand.”

Edgar Scheurer, Prairie Oat Growers Association vice president, said the decision is disappointing.

“It’s unfortunate because Roundup is registered on oats for pre-harvest application,” said Scheurer, who farms near Dugald, Man.

“Even in their memo… they said there’s no safety issues. They’re just giving in to pressure by certain groups even though there is no scientific backing to this decision.”

Terry Tyson, Grain Millers procurement manager in Yorkton, Sask., said the company has been considering this policy for a few years.

About three years ago they started to notice problems with oat groat quality, which resembled frost damage, but weren’t sure about the cause.

“When mills cut, flake or roll the groat, it is chalky, it’s brittle, it breaks apart and the finished product doesn’t make spec, in terms of granulation or absorption,” Tyson said.

“The groat integrity is affected much like an early frost affects groat integrity…. (But) frost damage you can see on the groat. You can control it… by rejecting a truckload or carload…. The damage with this issue is somewhat subtler.”

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Tyson said the company discovered that glyphosate was the cause of the frost-like damage, through a process of elimination.

“It literally took the last two or three years (to figure it out).”

Scheurer said desiccating oats with glyphosate is a common practice in Western Canada. Of the growers who straight combine oats, about 40 to 50 percent use glyphosate to hasten and even up crop maturity.

He said oat quality would suffer without glyphosate.

“When you swath, you get rain and then you get mildew. Then you get downgrades,” he said.

If a farmer doesn’t desiccate and waits for the crop to mature before straight cutting, it increases the risk of shattering and the possibility of rain, which could cause quality downgrades.

In March the World Health Organization issued a report on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and four other pesticides. WHO experts concluded that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.

Toxicologists and pesticides experts have condemned the WHO decision, saying it contravenes four decades of science showing that glyphosate isn’t a threat to human health.

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Scheurer said Grain Millers responded to pressure from activist groups, who want to ban agricultural pesticides

“They should base these decisions on science and not based on pressure from the Sierra Club or whoever.”

Tyson said Grain Millers didn’t make this decision because of customer or public concern about glyphosate residues. He added that company testing has demonstrated that glyphosate residues are not a problem for oats.

“In our testing in the last few years on this, we never once found a sample of oats with glyphosate residues in excess of the established maximum limits.”

Grain Millers, Inc. Glyphosate on Oats Policy memo to prairie oat growers:

This communication is to serve as official notification that as of harvest 2015 Grain Millers, Inc. will no longer accept any oats and/or oat products which have been treated with glyphosate. This change is driven by functional performance attributes of finished products manufactured from oats known to have been treated with glyphosate and by customer demand. This policy does not suggest any health or food safety concerns as reviewed and regulated by both the US FDA and/or CFIA/Health Canada.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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  • Peter Kleiss

    The fact is, science has shown a link between glyphosate and a myriad of human health concerns. To just what degree the harm is remains a question that needs answering. To be sure, more trials by independant researchers are needed.

  • shanob

    Great decision! thank you so much, Grain Millers!

  • SageThinker

    I can’t speak to the effects of pre-harvest glyphosate treatment on groat quality, but i trust the people who deal with them to tell that there is a difference. I can speak to the probable effects of glyphosate on the human gut microbiome. There is sufficient reason to expect that testing of the effect of glyphosate on the mammalian gut microbiota should have been done to approve the chemical for human consumption, but was not. I for one am glad to know that there is a lower chance of getting glyphosate with my oats. When i buy oats, i want oats, hold the pre-treatment spraying. Let the plant die a natural death and swath it, please. I’ll pay a little more if i have to. I’d rather have it natural.

  • Yes Maam

    Thank you Grain Millers. Best news all day.

  • Steven Tyler

    This article jumped from frost-bite type damage, oat quality would suffer without, hastens crop maturity, swathing causes rain and mildew, and WHO says dont touch the stuff with a 10′ pole. What was the point?

    • erisx

      Point was to inform you, Steven Tyler. Yes, more than one thing going on in this article, in fact more than one thing going on with Monsanto and others like them. Everything pointing back to profits over people, like all other massive corporations. Corporations are people my friend – and most of ’em are sociopaths.

  • HasToBeSaid

    What did farmers do before glyphosate? Farmers are waking up to the dangers of toxic chemical use in food, thank goodness. Do some research if you dare.

  • Carson

    “Driven by……customer demand?” Finally someone is listening to us. Thank you Grain Millers.

  • Jessica Chasko Denning

    I personally get ill from corn but not organic corn… so it is great news for me that glyphosate, which has been declared by World Health Organization to be a probable carcinogen (causes cancer probably), is not being accepted by this grain miller!!! Great news for Americans as we reduce poisons in our food. Happy Day!

  • anthony samsel

    Here is a list of glands and organs which showed tumorigenic growth due to glyphosate contained in the Monsanto Trade Secret documents BioDynamics corporation 26 month rat study 1978 to 1980 and reported to the EPA in 1981 for the registration of Glyphosate as an herbicide. Significant incidence of tumors were found but Monsanto used many unrelated historical controls to void the findings even though the experiments own controls at times showed 0% incidence of tumors. In every case the glyphosate treated groups had statistically significant tumors. To cancel out the inconvenient findings Monsanto used 3, 5, 7 and even 1`1 unrelated study controls to get rid of the results starring them in the face. Very bad laboratory practice. Monsanto then asked the EPA to seal the studies and mark them as TRADE SECRET never to see the light of day again.

    Tumors caused by Glyphosate were found in glands and organs in order of frequency ……

    Pituitary
    Thyroid
    Thymus
    Mammary
    Testicular
    Kidney
    Pancreas
    Liver
    Lungs

    • Hi Anthony,

      Could you provide a link to this study?

      Cheers,
      Paul – WP web ed

  • bposey

    Finally the domino’s are falling.

  • April Reeves

    Good for them. Maybe now I can begin to feed it to the horses again. Tired of the chemical Pro’s where all they think about it sales. Our bodies, our animals, our planet has way more importance over sales. I’ll be contacting Grain Millers Inc. for sales on clean oats this year.

  • Danny Van Duzer

    Maximum limits… if there is nothing wrong with it then why is there a maximum limit in the first place. They must have found something wrong with it in order to know what that is and who would trust corporation test results anyway the only thing they are testing is PROFITS.

  • Dayton

    Paul, what are you going to do with this new revelation?

    • Dayton,

      I’m not sure how much of a “revelation” this is.

      My plan is to pass this along to our Brandon reporter, Robert Arnason, once he’s back from holidays sometime next week for follow-up.

      We’ll be looking into it.

      Cheers,
      Paul – WP web ed

  • SageThinker

    I would like to know about these feeding studies, Anthony. I’ve been researching glyphosate intensively and i’ve read many feeding studies but have found none so far that actually feed glyphosate and also check for changes in the microbial population balances and other dynamics in the gut microbiome of any animals other than ruminants. What are you able to say about the studies you’ve read on this subject?

    • Bryan

      SageThinker, here is one:
      Current Microbiology April 2013, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 350-358
      Date: 09 Dec 2012
      The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro
      Awad A. Shehata,
      Wieland Schrödl,
      Alaa. A. Aldin,
      Hafez M. Hafez,
      Monika Krüger

      • SageThinker

        Thank you, although this is in vitro, using microbes found in poultry gut microbiomes, and i believe it uses full formula Roundup… I need to revisit this one again, since it’s been a couple months since i read it. I need to see glyphosate-only tests with full microbial species population ratio assays, in vitro and also in vivo.

      • SageThinker

        By the way, thank you for signing up just to comment to me. I am interested in what you do and what’s your interest in this topic. I’ve been a microbial ecologist and worked with microbial communities and observed their changes over time with selective pressures. I love the science, but then i began to read about glyphosate and, with my experience, i thought that it would be quite likely that it would have an effect on the gut microbiome. As i read more, i saw that a few people also had the same hypothesis, and i found that more and more evidence supports its likelihood, and then i started to write about it in comments and gain more information, and then i realized that this is a battleground, as it seem there is a small army of people commenting to hide the information or make this go away.

        I was born near two rivers polluted with a Monsanto product (Aroclor, a mixture of PCBs) and when i had read the history about that chemical, i realized the extent to which Monsanto was willing to lie and hide critical information in the past, and i realized that the same could be happening now, in an even grander scale.

  • Mike H

    This is great news, even though I cant eat oats anymore.

  • diannep

    Most importantly, chemical companies cannot be trusted to control glyphosate with the competition these companies to compete and sell more and more herbicides that they want to stack to make even more powerful and dangerous. I do not trust the FDA knowing a number of Monsanto employees have moved over to ensure GMO’S are rubber stamped for approval. Fortunately Canadian farmers are not so bought and we only have to contend with corn, soy, sugar beets and canola. BC growers are rejecting the arctic apple, but seems we cannot avoid the potato. Be careful with imports of US produce, I check with CBAN for GMO imports and information on where and what GMO crops are grown world wide
    http://www.cban.ca/
    I researched oats as I no longer eat wheat. Oats do not affect my gut like wheat. I want to avoid drenching of grains as Monsanto suggests to all farmers. After all this herbicide is Monsanto’s signature product that is under fire over lawsuits and for a multitude of good reasons.
    Yesterday I read that Monsanto is now applying pressure via Washington to have EU declare that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. Monsanto is desperate as grass roots people worldwide are questioning GMO crops doused a few times with glyphosate.

  • Mr. B

    Too bad the Oat Grower Association guy thinks that consumer opinion should be ignored. It’s not just lobby groups. MOST people don’t want chemicals in their food.

    I mean, farmers need to make their living and chemicals can help, but the consumers are important also, more important because they are the ones eating the stuff in the end. I hope that eventually the industry can start thinking less in terms of us vs them.