No-till EU farmers brace for glyphosate ban

British farmer tells farm conference that thinking will have to change without access to the herbicide

LONDON, Ont. — A pioneer in British no-till farming says there’s a good chance European farmers will lose access to glyphosate.

“It’s a French and German thing,” Tom Sewell said at the recent Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario conference in London.

The politics of those two countries means there is pressure to ban the herbicide, which is critical for no-till farmers. Glyphosate provides a simple and effective way to burn down weeds so that fields don’t have to be plowed or aggressively tilled.

Sewell said he has bought two or three years worth of glyphosate.

He said he wouldn’t need glypho-sate if he could figure out how to have a continuous cover crop and then stitch in the annual crops he wanted to grow.

“It would be a challenge, but I’m not going back to plowing and tilling,” he said.

“Part of me said, ‘bring it on,’ but a lot of people would panic.”

ADVERTISMENT

Sewell said no-till farming is growing in the United Kingdom.

He farms in County Kent, about 50 kilometres from London, where he owns 67 acres and rents or manages about 1,000 acres from eight landowners. He mostly grows wheat and oilseed rapeseed but is also trying cover crops.

The farm has used minimum tillage for 25 years, but in 2013 Sewell used funding from a Nuffield Scholarship to travel around the world to learn about no-till farming and improving soil.

“I wanted to visit the best no-till famers in the world.”

That set him on a path to his recent adoption of a full no-till system, which is a rarity in his area where farmers still till the ground deep and often. Hot winds in his area result in a lot of topsoil blown away.

Soil health is his priority, and he employs an independent agronomist to “take care what is growing above the ground” and a soil expert “to manage what grows below the ground.”

ADVERTISMENT

“The most important thing I learned about (during his Nuffield Scholarship) was soil, organic matter and the importance of roots.”

He said he knew he had to be committed if he was going to go all-in on no-till farming. He sold off his tillage equipment to raise some of the money to pay for the best no-till drill he could get.

Sewell ordered the seed placement part of the drill from a New Zealand company. It places seed and fertilizer in a slot at the bottom of the trench rather than a straight vertical seed trench.

He had the rest of the drill manufactured in Britain, and he’s very happy with the yields he’s getting. Like others in England, he’s getting high wheat yields: this year 165 bushels of wheat at 13 percent protein. He got a 50 percent higher price because of the protein level he reached.

“You’re buying a whole system, not just a no-till drill,” he said.

“Your plants grow different. Your herbicides work different. You have to change your way of thinking.”

ADVERTISMENT

  • Jennifer Berman Diaz

    BAN GLYPHOSATE!!!!! …

    • RobertWager

      The fact every toxicology agency in the world that has looked at glyphosate all state it is safe does not seem to register with those who want to ban it. I would like to understand why. Can you please explain why you think it should be banned. Thank you

      • Daniel

        Glyphosate has bad effects on the soil, on animals, big and small ones, on biodiversity, on water, on water animals, on bees, and consumer health… you can read here the soft facts… http://permaculture.com.au/glyphosate-toxicity-impacts-on-the-environment-and-non-target-species/ or here the evil facts … https://hrexach.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/roundup-and-birth-defects/ and here the over 750 hundred scientific publications on the effects of glyphosate… http://gmofreeusa.org/research/glyphosate/glyphosate-studies/

        • Stephen Daniels

          Tillage has the same bad effects,

          • Wally

            Nonsense.

            A recent peer reviewed study published on the Nature website shows that Roundup causes fatty liver disease at concentrations 430,000 times lower than what is allowed in the food supply.

            Glyphosate is a potent endocrine disruptor that has no safe dose. It causes DNA breaks and irreversible cellular death. It mimics glycine in the body. It causes rapid aging, multiple diseases, and early death.

          • Stephen Daniels

            Yet life spans keep increasing odd how you have no stats to back up your claims.

          • Duncan DeBunkerman

            Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped in 2015. The U.S. spends more money per capita on health care than any other country in the world, yet have a third world life expectancy.

            Over 96% of GMO crops are engineered to use Roundup/glyphosate in their cultivation. Since 1996 when GMOs were approved serious health issues like bile duct cancer, Kidney and renal pelvic cancer, urinary bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, not only that but also hypertension, stroke, obesity, diabetes, renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infection, autism, Alzheimer’s , and Parkinson’s. All of these have increased dramatically since cancer causing Roundup laden GMOs were introduced with out any long term safety testing and purposely hidden from us in the food supply.

          • Denise

            Don’t forget this big one: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

          • Duncan DeBunkerman

            Right you are. Glyphosate is a potent endocrine disruptor that has no safe dose. It causes DNA breaks and irreversible cellular death. It mimics glycine in the body. It causes rapid aging, multiple diseases, and early death.

          • Stephen Daniels

            No it doesn’t that’s the effects it has on weeds not humans.But your claim that it causes obesity is really the one that shows you are cutting and pasting from obscure non peer reviewed medical journals that have less credibility than Donald Trump.

          • Duncan DeBunkerman

            Nope. Glyphosate is a biocide.

            A recent peer reviewed study published on the Nature website shows that Roundup causes fatty liver disease at concentrations 430,000 times lower than what is allowed in the food supply.

            Monsanto’s own scientists told them Roundup/glyphosate caused cancer over 35 years ago. Instead of disclosing that fact, they colluded with the EPA who approved glyphosate over the objections of their own staff scientists and called the science “inconvenient” and hid the science away from other scientists, the courts, and the people as a trade secret while at the same time telling us it was safe.

          • Stephen Daniels

            You know Duncan the moderator might be too naive to know when he’s getting comment bombed by an anti Monsanto chat group and he lets you spread your lies that have no scientific basis in his mind cause it’s ‘journalistic fairness’ wonder if the Western Producer’s advertisers would appreciate him allowing this garbage on a site they help pay for?Only good thing is there is only about two farmers on here so your faulty biased propaganda goes unheard for the most part.But yes I think I will contact management at the Western Producer and ask anti advertiser propaganda not be allowed here unless it comes from peer reviewed science journals ,

          • Harold

            I am sure that the moderator can easily explain to you exactly who’s roof that you are standing under and recommend that you go and stand under your own. Do you honestly think that you the man can tell another man what to do and what to think and how to behave? Perhaps you can tell me where that Right comes from and where it is written; I cant find it.

          • Stephen Daniels

            Simple google search says better diagnostics led to the increased rates which have leveled out in the last few years. Obseity is from round up?Wow that’s a stretch.Just more fear mongering and the exaggerations make it even more obvious.

          • Duncan DeBunkerman

            There are a lot of industry astroturf sites serving misinformation on google. The fact is that U.S. life expectancy dropped in 2015.

          • Harold

            Tell me what you know of the body’s reaction to glyphosate other than a paper opinion told you that it was safe? What do you know about obesity other than stats. Because glyphosate is not a fat you cannot become obese? I can put together glyphosate and obesity for you, but I do not trust your sincerity and I don’t need adventure so I would rather ignore doing so. Further those suffering those diseases and their loved ones are in real fear and this is not due to a mongering. You have also mislabeled those acting from their conscience as fear rather than a responsibility to perform. You are citing fear where there is none. I know that glyphosate is harmful and can you tell me my fear so that I can have fear too. I don’t stare at a bleach bottle and fear that I will drink it. I just don’t drink it.
            I don’t stare at a bottle of glyphosate and fear that I will drink it. I just don’t drink it. Perhaps you can explain the nutritional value of glyphosate and if there is none, validate why I should just “take one for the team?” Is my body under contract to “the team”? Am I to fear no contract? I have a hard time fearing that someday I may not be able to consume safe levels of glyphosate. Perhaps there will be Meds. All said, if you take glyphosate away from the farmer’s that is where you will find true glyphosate fear and Industry fear standing beside them. Your issue of fear and mongering is pointed in the wrong direction.

      • Stephen Daniels

        Quite obvious Robert people who want it banned are paid off by Big Oil cause that is who wins if Round up is banned.Big oil loves tillage.You will never get an answer on how burning more fossil fuel is better than glyphosate use.Cancer rates are decreasing when longer life span factored in and recent study showed two thirds of all cancer are random nothing to do with diet or environment so that arguement also bogus.

        • Cancer rates are decreasing? Not quite.

          • Wally

            Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease for 1 to 14 year old children. These are the people who have been exposed to glyphosate laden GMOs for their entire life.

          • Stephen Daniels

            No just more fear mongering ,cancer occurrence rates havn’t changed in children over the last 25 years.And since two thirds of cancer are random nothing to do with anything but chance and 120 children die a year in Canada from cancer that means about 40 kids a year die from cancer caused by something other than random chance.Stats don’t support the fear mongering but facts have little to do with the anti everything crowd.

          • Stephen Daniels

            Realize that fact doesn’t fit your agenda Anne .So agree to disagree.

          • StopGMO

            No, it’s more like fact doesn’t fit your agenda Stephen.

          • Harold

            There is a lengthy video documentary that all should see and it’s called – the truth about cancer: a global quest. And those worried about Carbon should view – the great global warming swindle. full movie. These are real Scientists and real Health Professionals speaking and not paper reports of “real unnamed” and unseen paper “peer” scientists paper speaking for which most are accustomed. Sometimes it is nice to hear exactly what they wish to say to you from their PHD and Doctorate and professorship levels of understanding and involvement. The problem with truth is that the mainstream will not forgive you for having it.

      • StopGMO

        All you’ve got are falsehoods Wager. Please stop!

        • Stephen Daniels

          And somehow you believe tillage is a better solution.So you must be a big proponent of oil pipelines .

          • StopGMO

            And somehow you think you know me.

      • E. Sandwich

        Can you cite the source for this claim please. I don’t think you got the facts right here.

  • richard

    If the eggheads ever actually went out to where the rubber hits the road to witness the effects of class one to six herbicide resistance…..they might realize how silly their monothemeatic, monocultural claims sound to those who have to deal with it….. eg. glyphosate resistance, thirteen weed species, sixty million acres (USDA)…..and growing every day of every month of every year……

    • Stephen Daniels

      So?Then we go back to tillage which is what you want anyways.Win win.