Glyphosate ban should not damage UK farming, OF&G tells Cereals Event
Date Published: 23/06/2017
Adding value to farm produce and increasing soil biological activity will help farmers prepare for a future with fewer crop protection products, OF&G told growers at this year’s Cereals Event.
Speaking during the event’s headline Oxford Farming Conference debate (14 June), OF&G business development manager Steven Jacobs said that life without glyphosate did not spell the end for UK arable production.
If the product was banned by the European Commission over health fears, farmers would simply have to think differently about the way they produce food, he said.
Mr Jacobs said organic farmers and growers had already proved there were plenty of opportunities to work with fewer inputs whilst maintaining profitable and productive businesses.
What’s more, fewer inputs did not mean European food production had to drop, he added, provided the food chain was prepared to work together to find ways to limit waste and distribute produce more effectively.
Speaking alongside a prestigious panel including Nick Mole of the Pesticide Action Network, NFU Vice President Guy Smith and Sean Sparling of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants, Mr Jacobs said that latest farm income figures had shown that rising input costs had hit farm profits.
Looking at ways to utilise more cultural controls and crop rotation now would mean farmers could reduce costs, as we move to more agroecological methods of production.
Nick Mole said a glyphosate ban was inevitable, and suggested that farmers should begin a planned phase-out of the product.
Mr Mole also questioned whether glyphosate really had any use for growers, citing a 2008 AHDB trial which showed there was little impact on weed absence when using the product on a crop in a dry season.