ArticlePDF Available

Economic assessment of alternatives for glyphosate application in arable farming

Authors:

Abstract

Application and sales of herbicides with glyphosate have strongly increased in Germany during the past 10 years. This has raised a number of questions and discussions concerning glyphosate use. Therefore, this paper identifies and evaluates alternatives with an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate for different treatment-areas in terms of economic consequences for farms in comparison to glyphosate use by way of example. With the help of exemplary crop rotations uses in arable farming for winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, winter barley, maize and summer barley were analyzed. Within a “worst case scenario” a complete abandonment of glyphosate applications was assumed. Different tillage systems (plough, no-plough) were considered. The only alternatives with an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate were mechanical measures. For the analyzed treatment-areas (desiccation, pre-sowing, stubble) no approved and efficient chemical alternative could be identified. The economic advantages and disadvantages of substituting glyphosate by mechanical alternatives were strongly depending on the treatment-area, the efficacy concerning yield expectations (in comparison to glyphosate use), the tillage system, the necessity of grain drying as well as further operational factors such as the availability of sufficient field work days and mechanical equipment.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 279
Economic assessment of alternatives for glyphosate application in arable farming
Ökonomische Bewertung von Alternativen zur Glyphosatanwendung im Ackerbau
Hella Kehlenbeck1*, Jovanka Saltzmann1, Jürgen Schwarz1, Peter Zwerger2, Henning
Nordmeyer2
1Julius Kühn-Institut, Institut für Strategien und Folgenabschätzung,
Stahnsdorfer Damm 81, 14532 Kleinmachnow
2Julius Kühn-Institut, Institut für Pflanzenschutz im Ackerbau und Grünland,
Messeweg 11/12, 38104 Braunschweig
*Corresponding author, Hella.Kehlenbeck@jki.bund.de
DOI 10.5073/jka.2016.452.038
Abstract
Application and sales of herbicides with glyphosate have strongly increased in Germany during the past 10
years. This has raised a number of questions and discussions concerning glyphosate use. Therefore, this paper
identifies and evaluates alternatives with an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate for different treatment-
areas in terms of economic consequences for farms in comparison to glyphosate use by way of example.
With the help of exemplary crop rotations uses in arable farming for winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, winter
barley, maize and summer barley were analyzed. Within a “worst case scenario” a complete abandonment of
glyphosate applications was assumed. Different tillage systems (plough, no-plough) were considered. The only
alternatives with an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate were mechanical measures. For the analyzed
treatment-areas (desiccation, pre-sowing, stubble) no approved and efficient chemical alternative could be
identified.
The economic advantages and disadvantages of substituting glyphosate by mechanical alternatives were
strongly depending on the treatment-area, the efficacy concerning yield expectations (in comparison to
glyphosate use), the tillage system, the necessity of grain drying as well as further operational factors such as
the availability of sufficient field work days and mechanical equipment.
Keywords: Benefits, chemical and non-chemical alternatives, costs, mechanical weed control
Zusammenfassung
Die Anwendung und der Absatz glyphosathaltiger Herbizide haben in den vergangenen 10 Jahren in
Deutschland stark zugenommen. Dies hat Fragen und Diskussionen zu deren Anwendung aufgeworfen. Daher
wurden in dieser Arbeit hinreichend wirkungsäquivalente Alternativen zum Wirkstoff Glyphosat exemplarisch
für ausgewählte Anwendungsbereiche identifiziert und hinsichtlich ihrer ökonomischen Auswirkungen für
Betriebe im Vergleich mit der Anwendung von Glyphosat untersucht.
Anhand beispielhafter Fruchtfolgen wurden Anwendungen in den Ackerbaukulturen Winterweizen,
Winterraps, Winterroggen, Mais und Sommergerste betrachtet und in einem „Worst Case Szenario“ eine
vollständige Substitution glyphosathaltiger Herbizide unterstellt. Berücksichtigt wurde dabei auch die Art der
Bodenbearbeitung (mit Pflug, pfluglos). Als hinreichend wirkungsäquivalente Alternativen konnten lediglich
mechanische Maßnahmen gefunden werden. Für die betrachteten Anwendungsbereiche (Sikkation, Vorsaat-
oder Stoppelbehandlung) hingegen, wurden keine zugelassenen, ausreichend wirksamen chemischen
Alternativen identifiziert.
Die ökonomischen Vor- und Nachteile der Substitution glyphosathaltiger Herbizide durch mechanische
Maßnahmen hingen stark vom Anwendungsbereich, der Äquivalenz hinsichtlich der Ertragswirkungen (im
Vergleich zur Glyphosatanwendung), der Art der Bodenbearbeitung, der Notwendigkeit einer Trocknung des
Erntegutes sowie weiteren betriebsspezifischen Faktoren, wie der Verfügbarkeit ausreichender Feldarbeitstage
und der Mechanisierung, ab.
Stichwörter: Chemische und nicht-chemische Alternativen, Kosten, mechanische Unkrautbekämpfung,
Nutzen
Introduction
Application and sales of glyphosate herbicides have strongly increased in Germany over the past
10 years. Every year, about 40% of Germany's arable land is under glyphosate treatment (SCHULTE
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
280 Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016
et al., 2015; STEINMANN et al., 2015). Since 2004, about 5,000 t of glyphosate are sold in Germany
every year. At present about 33 glyphosate herbicides are approved in Germany. They are sold
under 95 trade names. The 33 approved herbicides have in total 470 authorized uses, whereof 86
are for non-commercial users (BVL, 2015).
Especially for no-plough agriculture glyphosate use is of great importance as it allows controlling
weeds efficiently before seeding without any tillage passes. It therefore enables conservation
tillage on areas with high risk of erosion (STEINMANN and DOBERS, 2013; MAL et al., 2015; SCHMITZ et al.,
2015). Even with additional tillage MAL et al. (2015) and SCHMITZ et al. (2015) predicted yield losses
without glyphosate of up to 10%. Based on expert interviews SCHMITZ and GARVERT (2012) described
glyphosate use as a standard in conservation tillage in many regions in Germany. According to
their results 30 to 35% of all areas cultivated with winter crops and 50% of the area under winter
oil seed rape production were treated with glyphosate.
In arable farming, glyphosate is applied pre-sowing (shortly before sowing or shortly after sowing
before emergence), pre-harvest (to the standing crop shortly before harvest, desiccation) or post-
harvest (after harvest, stubble treatment).
For glyphosate use in agriculture, several application regulations have to be considered in
Germany since May 2014 (BVL, 2014):
two applications are allowed per year at most,
between two applications a waiting period of at least 90 days must be adhered,
the application rate per year must not exceed 3.6 kg active substance per hectare,
desiccation is only allowed as site specific application.
The present study assesses in particular the economic consequences at farm-scale of an
abandonment of using glyphosate based on exemplary calculations for typical crop rotations in
arable farming and compared the alternatives "weed management with glyphosate" and "weed
management without glyphosate".
Methodology of the economic assessment
Economic parameters
The economic influence of an abandonment of glyphosate was calculated by the use of three
economic parameters belonging to cost accounting and cost benefit analysis.
(1) The plant protection free revenues (PPFR) were derived by the revenue (R) for each crop in a
crop rotation (revenue = yield times price) less the direct costs (DC) resulting from either the
glyphosate use or its substitute. For the direct costs interest expenses (IE) were calculated at an
interest rate of 4% (i) for a period of three months.
PPFR = R (DC +IE)
(2) For each crop rotation the net present value (NPV) was calculated over the period under review
(T) by discounting the PPFR of each year (t). The NPV allows for a comparison of the economic
efficiency of the entire three-year crop-rotations.
 = (
(1 + ))

(3) To derive a value which shows the economic efficiency of a crop rotation on an annual basis
the NPV was converted into an annuity (A) with the help of the annuity factor (AF). The differences
of the cultivation strategies` annuities show additional costs or gains of substituting glyphosate
(comparison with and without glyphosate).
= ,
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 281
,=(1 + )
(1 + ) 1
Crops, crop rotations, treatment areas and possible alternatives to glyphosate
To evaluate the economic effect of an abandonment of glyphosate, five theoretic crop rotations
where identified. Three of them include predominantly winter crops:
crop rotation 1 “winter”: winter oilseed rape winter wheat winter wheat
crop rotation 2 “winter”: maize winter wheat winter wheat
crop rotation 3 “winter”: winter oilseed rape winter wheat winter barley
The other two crop rotations include the summer crop spring barley:
crop rotation 1 “summer”: maize winter wheat spring barley
crop rotation 2 “summer”: winter oilseed rape winter wheat spring barley
To calculate the economic impact of the different application possibilities of glyphosate (pre-
sowing, pre-harvest, post-harvest) different application variants were identified. Taking the
application regulations of glyphosate into account, for winter crop dominated crop rotations three
application variants were possible:
Variant 1: glyphosate is used for desiccation and pre-sowing treatment
Variant 2: glyphosate is used for stubble treatment
Variant 3: glyphosate is used for pre-sowing treatment
For the crop rotations containing spring barley, the following three variants were calculated:
Variant 1a: glyphosate is used for desiccation and pre-sowing treatment
Variant 2a: glyphosate is used for desiccation, stubble and pre-sowing treatment
Variant 2b: glyphosate is used for stubble and pre-sowing treatment
For each crop rotation the alternatives "management with glyphosate" and "management without
glyphosate" were compared. Therefore, a decent alternative to glyphosate had to be found for
each application possibility.
A “chemical” alternative for stubble treatment and pre-sowing application has to be approved for
the relevant indication and should have an efficacy almost equivalent to that of the herbicide to
be replaced. Due to this requirement there was no chemical alternative to glyphosate herbicides
for stubble treatment and pre-sowing application. There was only one chemical alternative for
desiccation in oilseed rape - the active ingredient diquat (for instance Reglone).
Mechanical alternatives that achieved an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate for stubble
treatment (to eliminate volunteer plants, couch grass, weeds/weed grasses) and pre-sowing
application (to eliminate volunteer plants, weeds/weed grasses, in particular resistant black grass
and/or wind grass, mulching/cover crops and catch crop) were in both cases the application of
additional one to three tillage passes on the entire field using appropriate equipment or
combination of equipment. The repeated passes are needed to increase efficacy, but complete
equivalence can only be achieved under specific conditions.
Each crop rotation is calculated for its three treatment variants, for the use of glyphosate and its
alternative, for till and no-till systems and for “with drying of the harvest” and “without drying of
the harvest”.
Figure 1 presents an overview of the application possibilities in a cropping strategy with
glyphosate use and glyphosate-free alternatives in a plough and no-plough system.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
282 Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016
Fig. 1 Exemplary illustration of all application possibilities of glyphosate (pre-harvest, post-harvest, pre-
sowing) and its alternatives for weed control in a crop rotation with a following winter crop for plough and no-
plough systems. Application regulations are not considered.
Abb. 1 Modellhafte Darstellung aller Anwendungsmöglichk eiten glyphosathaltiger Herbizide (Sikkation, Stoppel-
und Vorsaatbehandlung) und deren Alt ernativen zur Bekämpfung von Unkraut und Ausfallpflanzen vor einer
anschließenden Winterung ohne B erücksichtigung von Zulassungsbeschrä nkungen für Anbausysteme mit und
ohne Pflug.
For the variants with glyphosate the above mentioned application regulations (see introduction)
were taken into account.
Yields, prices, cost components and calculation of revenues
To derive the PPFR, revenue and cost components were considered. The revenues, shown in
Table 1, are based on the average producer prices and yields in Germany between the years 2007
and 2012.
Tab. 1 Yield and price assumptions (mean of the years 2007-2012) and assumption for the initial revenue for
selected arable crops (minor differences are due to rounding), from AMI and Statistisches Bundesamt (different
years).
Tab. 1 Ertrags- und Erzeugerpreisannahmen (Mittelwerte der Jahre 2007-2012) sowie angenommene
Ausgangerlöse für ausgewählte Ackerb aukulturen (geringfügige Abweichungen aufgrund von Rundung), nach AMI
and Statistisches Bundesamt (verschiedene Jahre).
Winter
wheat
Winter
barley
Spring
barley
Winter
oilseed rape
Maize
Producer price (€/dt)
18.3
15.8
19.5
36.1
17.3
Yield (dt/ha)
74.5
63.7
49.2
36.6
99.4
Revenue (€/ha)
1,365
1,006
957
1,320
1,717
Table 2 shows the revenue and cost components considered, the underlying assumptions on
machinery and prices and the calculation approach to derive the PPFR for arable crops.
For different agricultural measures (no glyphosate, no-plough) a yield decrease of 0 to 5% was
applied to the yields shown in Table 1. In case of a chemical desiccation a reduction of yield losses
or in other words a yield gain of 0 to 5% was assumed.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 283
Tab. 2 Calculation approach of the plant protection free revenues in arable crops.
Tab. 2 Berechnung der pflanzenschutzk ostenfreien Leistung im Ackerbau.
Without
glyphosate use
Source
Revenue
Initial yield
Average yield in Germany between the years 2007 and
2012 (see Tab. 1)
S
TATISTISCHE
J
AHRBÜCHER
and AMI
MARKTBILANZEN (different years)
Yield
decrease 0-5% yield decrease in no-
0-5% yield decrease in
glyphosate-free systems
0-5% yield decrease in no-till
systems
Expert estimation and
SCHWARZ and PALLUTT (2012)
Yield increase
losses on area with
desiccation/ assumption:
50% of the area is under
0-5% reduction of yield losses
on area with desiccation (only
relevant for desiccation in
winter oilseed rape with
diquat)
FEIFFER et al. (2005)
FEIFFER (2007)
Producer price
Average producer prices in Germany between the years
2007 and 2012 (see Tab. 1)
S
TATISTISCHE
J
AHRBÜCHER
and AMI
MARKTBILANZEN (different years)
Revenue
(Initial Yield Yield Decreases + Yield Increases) * Producer Price
Direct costs of plant protection
Desiccation
(Pre-harvest)
(=3 l Roundup Power
Flex/ha x 9.9€/l x 50% of
area treated)
Cereals: 18.56 €/ha
(=3.75 l Roundup Power
Flex * 9.9 €/l x 50% of area
Oilseed rape: 29 €/ha
(=2 l Reglone/ha * 14.50 €/l x
50% of area treated)
Indication according to
application regulation (BVL,
2015, status 10.02.15)
Pesticide prices: Agravis price list
2014
Soil
cultivation
24.11 €/ha
(flat stubble cultivator, 4m, 83 kW)
KTBL-field work calculator,
status11.11.2014
Stubble
treatment
(Post-harvest)
37.13 €/ha
(=3,75 l Roundup Power
Flex * 9,9 €/l)
24.11 €/ha per treatment
(flat stubble cultivator, 4 m,
83kW, 1-3 treatments)
Indication according to
application regulation (BVL,
2015, status 10.02.15)
Pesticide prices: Agravis price list
2014
KTBL-
field work calculator, status
11.11.2014
Soil
cultivation
plough: 67 € (semi-mounted, 120kW, 8 wings, 2,8 m)
deep stubble cultivator: 43.98 € (4,5 m, 120kW)
KTBL-field work calculator, status
11.11.2014
Pre-sowing
37.13 €/ha
(=3.75 l Roundup Power
Flex * 9.9 €/l)
24.11€/ha per treatment
(flat stubble cultivator, 4 m,
83kW, 1-3 treatments)
Indication according to
application regulation (BVL,
2015, status 10.02.15)
Pesticide prices: Agravis price list
2014
KTBL-
field work calculator, status
11.11.2014
Application
8.58 €/ha per treatment (attached plant sprayer, 27 m,
3.000 l, 67 kW, 200 l water/ha)
KTBL-field work calculator, status
11.11.2014
Interest
expenses
4% p.a. for a period of 3 months
Plant Protection Free Revenue = Revenue - Σ Direct Costs of Plant Protection
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
284 Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016
The application rates of 3.75 l/ha Roundup Power Flex (as an example of an herbicide containing
glyphosate) per hectare for all crops and application possibilities (except desiccation with
glyphosate in oil seed rape: 3 l/ha) were in accordance with the current application regulations. In
oil seed rape an alternative desiccation with the active substance diquat (indication assumed: 2 l of
Reglone per hectare) was calculated additionally (BVL, 2015). The prices of Roundup Power Flex
and Reglone were calculated with 9.90 and 14.50 €/l respectively (AGRAVIS, 2014). In accordance to
the application regulations for glyphosate, a site specific desiccation of 50% of the area was
assumed for all desiccation treatments. In the glyphosate-free variants, stubble and pre-sowing
treatment was replaced by 1 to 3 passes with a flat stubble cultivator at 24.11 €/ha per treatment
(KTBL-field work calculator, 2014). For all variants flat soil cultivation after harvesting was
considered as a precondition for a successful weed management either with or without
glyphosate. For expenditures an interest rate of 4% p.a. over 3 months was assumed.
All ranges mentioned above were incorporated into the calculations as minimum and maximum
assumptions to consider uncertainties underlying the assumptions.
Results
Table 3 shows the results of glyphosate abandonment in arable farming for plough and no-plough
systems with and without drying of the harvested grain for different crop rotations considered
within the calculations.
Economic effect of an abandonment of glyphosate for pre-harvest, post-harvest and desiccation
treatments
The economic consequences of glyphosate abandonment were crucially determined by the yield
effect of the substituting measure. This is of greater importance than the slightly higher costs of a
mechanical treatment as soon as more than one additional pass was necessary (glyphosate
treatment including application: 45.70 €/ha; one tillage measure: 24.11 €/ha).
If there was no yield decrease, stubble and pre-sowing treatments could be substituted by
mechanical measures without negative or with slightly positive economic effects. Under
unfavourable conditions, when in spite of 2 to 3 additional tillage passes yield losses occurred, the
lack of stubble treatment with glyphosate in crop rotations with predominantly winter crops
caused additional annual costs of 55 to 89 € per hectare and in case of pre-sowing application of
up to almost 100 € per hectare. With an average gross margin for example for wheat (bread wheat)
of 600 to 900 € per hectare, the additional costs would account for about 6 to 17% of the gross
margin. On average, an abandonment of glyphosate for stubble and pre-sowing treatments led to
additional costs of 0 to 37 €/ha.
The abandonment of glyphosate without any replacement was especially difficult for desiccation
when the missing treatment led to a subsequent cost-intensive drying of the harvest. In this case,
on average (in combination with a substituted stubble and/or pre-sowing treatment) additional
costs of about 50 to 100 €/ha arose.
Economic effect of tillage on the abandonment of glyphosate
The results showed that the substitution of glyphosate by additional tilling was not necessarily
more expensive in any case. Within almost all the variants, mechanical weed control could provide
the same or a better economic result under favourable conditions, when one additional tillage
pass achieved an efficacy equivalent to glyphosate.
There was a tendency that it was less costly and easier to avoid the use of glyphosate in case of
plough tillage which, however, might cause problems for regions at erosion risks.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 285
Tab. 3 Annual costs of glyphosate abandonment shown as the differences of the annuities compared to
glyphosate in € per ha and year of a cropping system with glyphosate and one with mechanical substitution.
Negative signs indicate losses, positive signs indicate gains through an abandonment of glyphosate.
Tab. 3 Jährliche Kosten des Verzichts auf Glyphosat dargestellt als Differen z der Annuitäten zur Anwendung von
Glyphosat in €/ha und Jahr eines Anbausystems mit Glyphosat und eines mit mechanischer Substitution. Negative
Vorzeichen bedeuten Verluste, positive Vorzeichen zusätzliche Einnahmen durch die Substitution von Gly phosat.
Application
variants
Annual costs of glyphosate abandonment
as
Annuities (max/Ø/min) in €/ha and year
row
plough/
no-
plough
drying1 desic-
cation stubble pre-
sowing
max
Ø
min
max
Ø
min
max
Ø
min
CR1 CR2 CR3
Crop rotations including predominantly winter crops:
WOR-WW-WW
Maize-WW-WW
WOR-WW-WB
1.
desiccation
&
pre-sowing
plough
x
x
x
-103
-57
-11
-94
-50
-7
-95
-52
-8
1
plough
x
x
-11
7
26
-7
6
18
-8
9
26
2
no-
plough
x x
x -172 -85 3 -172 -78 15 -144 -65 14
3
no-
plough
x
x -56 -26 3 -71 -28 15 -34 -10 14
4
2.
stubble
plough
x
x
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
plough
x
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
no-
plough
x
x
-76 -31 14 -83 -34 15 -55 -12 30
7
no-
plough
x
-82 -34 14 -89 -37 15 -61 -15 30
8
3.
pre-sowing
plough
x
x
-79
-32
14
-87
-33
22
-58
-18
22
9
plough
x
-85
-35
14
-93
-35
22
-64
-21
22
10
no-
plough
x
x -76 -31 14 -84 -31 22 -55 -16 22
11
no-
plough
x -82 -34 14 -89 -34 22 -61 -19 22
12
Crop rotations including spring barley:
Maize-WW-SB
WOR-WW-SB
1a.
desiccation
&
pre-sowing
plough
x
x
x
-157
-69
1
-157
-75
7
13
plough
x
x
-68
-25
19
-52
-23
7
14
no-
plough
x x
x -149 -65 19 -149 -71 7
15
no-
plough
x
x -65 -23 19 -49 -21 7
16
1b.
desiccation,
stubble
&
pre-sowing
plough
x
x
x
x
-157
-69
19
-157
-75
7
17
plough
x
x
x
-68
-25
19
-52
-23
7
18
no-
plough
x x x x -189 -89 11 -165 -99 -33
19
no-
plough
x x x -105 -47 11 -65 -49 -33
20
2a.
stubble
&
pre-sowing
plough
x
x
x
-82
-30
22
-73
-29
14
21
plough
x
x
-86
-32
22
-79
-32
14
22
no-
plough
x
x x -96 -30 36 -96 -33 29
23
no-
plough
x x -101 -32 36 -101 -36 29
24
column:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
1 only if the crop is not desiccated
CR = crop rotation, WOR = Winter oilseed rape, W W = winter wheat, WB = winter barley, SB = spring barley
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
286 Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016
Tab. 4 Expected economic consequences at farm-level of an abandonment of glyphosate and substitution by
mechanical measures.
Tab. 4 Zu erwartende ökonomische Konseq uenzen auf Betriebsebene durch eine Substitution von Glyphosat durch
mechanische Maßnahmen.
plough/
crop
drying
plough/
no crop
drying
no-plough/
crop
drying
no-plough/
no crop
drying
Crop
rotations
“winter”
1. desiccation & pre-sowing
2. stubble
3. pre-sowing
Crop
rotations
“summer”
1a. desiccation & pre-sowing
1b. desiccation, stubble &
pre-sowing
2a. stubble & pre-sowing
Legend
The abandonment of glyphosate does not cause economic losses.
The abandonment of glyphosate leads to costs of 40 €/ha and year on average. Under
favourable conditions there are no economic disadvantages or even positive effects.
The abandonment of glyphosate leads to high costs of more than 40 €/ha and year on
average. Even under favourable conditions, losses cannot be avoided.
An important prerequisite to substitute glyphosate by mechanical measures with only minimum
economic disadvantages for farmers is an efficacy of the alternative almost equivalent to
glyphosate without lower yields and farm specific capacities such as availability of field work days,
manpower and equipment for tillage.
In case of these favourable conditions, the mechanical control measure may lead to an
economically identical or even better result. Location, weather and farming practices are
important factors influencing the economic consequences of the substitution of glyphosate. In
case of unfavourable conditions considerable costs occur.
Table 4 summarizes the expected economic consequences at farm-level for the different variants.
Dark grey colours show those combinations where economic losses by substituting glyphosate
can hardly be avoided. Middle grey colours are combinations that on average result in economic
losses but where under specific preconditions no economic disadvantages up to even economic
advantages can be achieved. For combinations with light grey colours no losses by glyphosate
substitution are to be expected at all.
Discussion
The increases in sales and application of glyphosate have raised questions on the appropriateness
of this development leading to requests concerning the reduction of glyphosate use.
Glyphosate application has become a common measure of weed management over the past years
in Germany due to several beneficial effects of this active ingredient. SCHULTE and THEUVSEN (2015)
recently summarized these effects within a literature review and pointed out the use of
conservation and minimal tillage, arable farming in areas at erosion risk, reduction of labour and
machinery costs, fuel savings, anti-resistance management, phytosanitary aspects (eliminating the
so called green bridges) and the ensurance of harvest (avoiding of lodging). Other authors also
mention positive effects on yield (SCHMITZ and GARVERT, 2012; COOK et al., 2010). These economic
advantages explain the “popularity” of glyphosate for farmers. SCHULTE et al. (2015) and STEINMANN
et al. (2015) reported, that glyphosate is applied on about 40% of the arable land in Germany,
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 287
whereof the majority concerns stubble treatments. According to ANDERT et al. (2015) glyphosate
use was higher in eastern than in western Germany and in no plough systems.
Alternative measures to glyphosate use for the different treatment areas leading to comparable
agronomic results are hardly to find. In our study only mechanical measures with appropriate
machinery and 1 to 3 passes led to an equivalent efficacy. However, as the results showed, many
factors determined the economic consequences of these alternative measures to substitute
glyphosate, such as an efficacy almost equivalent to glyphosate application, the availability of
sufficient field work days, sufficient manpower and equipment for the additional tillage. In
addition it should not be necessary to dry the harvest. SCHMITZ and GARVERT (2012) calculated with a
similar partial budgeting approach the farm-level effects of a ban of glyphosate and reported that
gross margins would decrease in eastern Germany by 27%, in northern Germany by 3% and in the
north-western coastal area by 36%. The differences between the regions in their study were on the
one hand for the north-western coastal area due to resistance problems in black grass (Alopecurus
myosuroides) where they assumed additional herbicide applications with sulfonylurea. For the
region in eastern Germany they assumed that farmers would not use the plough due to
restrictions in labour and would therefore result in a decrease of yield by 10%. Own calculations
resulted in lower reductions of the gross margin - or in our case the plant protection free revenue -
(on average up to 10% in case of additional drying of the harvest and on average up to 5% if no
additional drying was necessary) since our assumptions concerning yield losses were only 0-5%
and we did not assume that other herbicides were applied.
The underlying assumptions for the expected consequences of the substitution of glyphosate by
mechanical measures are crucial for the economic result in any impact assessment and at the
same time they entail considerable uncertainty. In the present study uncertainty was considered
by deriving assumptions e.g. for expected changes in crop yields by expert judgement and by
applying margins for the range of the most probable data.
Within tillage systems using the plough the substitution of glyphosate especially for the stubble-
treatment did not cause economic losses. SCHMITZ et al. (2015) compared gross margins, direct and
labor costs for different soil cultivation (conservation tillage and plough) for different crop
rotations in different regions. In their calculation the conservation tillage with glyphosate led to
higher gross margins (5 to 10%) due to lower costs (20% lower production costs, about 30% lower
fuel consume).
The substitution of glyphosate by mechanical measures, however, is limited and not appropriate
in any case. It is hardly possible to achieve a sustainable control of couch grass and other perennial
weeds without glyphosate. Other herbicidal active ingredients have insufficient efficiency. Usually
changes in crop rotations and tillage are not equivalent in efficiency concerning the above
mentioned weeds. Replacing the glyphosate application by plough tillage clearly led to less
economic consequences. For this reason the substitution of glyphosate application by mechanical
measures would probably enhance plough tillage. In areas with high risks of erosion, the shift from
no-plough to plough tillage can increase erosion. Other benefits of soil conserving tillage would at
the same time be eliminated. By applying glyphosate herbicides as a pre-sowing treatment spread
and development of weed species at risk of herbicide resistance can be specifically avoided. At
locations at high risk of resistance glyphosate application remains an essential measure within
resistance management for the time being.
The economic consequences of an abandonment of glyphosate and a substitution by mechanical
measures depend on farm specific prerequisites such as the availability of sufficient manpower
and equipment for additional tillage. ANDERT et al. (2015) showed that glyphosate use and no
plough systems were both attributed to larger farms. Moreover, the potential for substituting
glyphosate by mechanical measures such as more plough tillage depends on the risk of erosion at
the farm location. An overall solution for an abandonment of glyphosate therefore cannot be
expected and the decision by farmers will be taken case-by-case.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
288 Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016
Whether an increase in prices of glyphosate would enhance the economic advantage of
alternative measures can only be estimated theoretically. For equivalence in costs of three tillage
passes (3 x 24.11 €/ha = 72.33 €/ha) with a glyphosate application ((3.75 l/ha Roundup Power Flex
* 9.9 €/l) + 8.58 €/ha for application = 45.70 €/ha) prices of glyphosate must increase by more than
70% ((3.75 l/ha Roundup Power Flex * 17 €/l) + 8.58 €/ha for application = 72.33 €/ha).
Concerning the potential to reduce glyphosate use the largest theoretical potential for savings
could be found in arable farming within winter wheat, the crop with the largest cropping area in
Germany. According to estimations by JKI based on PAPA-data (panel for pesticide applications)
about one third of the applied glyphosate is used within winter wheat production (KEHLENBECK et
al., 2015).
The economic impact assessment revealed that under certain conditions glyphosate needs not to
be used. Consequently, it can be stated that glyphosate should not be regarded as a standard
measure in arable crop production systems. Instead it should rather be considered whether
glyphosate application in particular to stubble or pre-sowing application could be replaced by
mechanical tillage with appropriate equipment. Such an approach should reduce the glyphosate
quantity at the same time. Plough tillage should be taken into account more often, especially on
soils that allow ploughing and have no risk of erosion. If this is not possible on the entire area,
glyphosate should be applied at least to the most problematic parts of the fields (for example due
to couch grass, erosion risk). Moreover, it should be considered whether mechanical tillage as an
alternative measure could be applied alternating from year to year and lead to sufficient weed
management results. In general, pre-harvest applications to combinable crops should be reduced
to the necessary minimum.
References
AMI, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013: Marktbilanzen Getreide Ölsaaten Futtermittel. AMI Marktbilanz. Bonn, Agrarmarkt Informations-
Gesellschaft mbH.
AGRAVIS, 2014: Preisliste für Pflanzenschutzmittel. Agravis, 2014.
ANDERT, S., J. BÜRGER and B. GEROWITT, 2015: Glyphosate-use in North German arable farming differs re gionally. XVIII. International
Plant Protection Congress. Mission possible: food for all through appropriate plant protection. Berlin: 143.
BVL, 2014: Neue Anwendungsbestimmungen für Pflanzenschutzmittel mit dem Wirkstoff Glyphosat. BVL-Fachmeldungen,
http://www.bvl.bund.de/DE/04_Pflanzenschutzmittel/05_Fachmeldungen/2014/2014_05_21_Fa_Neue_Anwendung_Gly
phosat.html?nn=1400938.
BVL, 2015: Online-Verzeichnis zugelassener Pflanzenschutzmittel.
COOK, S.K., S.C. WYNN and J.H. CLARKE, 2010: How valuable is glyphosate to UK a griculture and the environment? Outlooks on Pest
Management 21 (6), 280-284.
FEIFFER, A., 2007: Eine ganz neue Sikkationsqualität. Vorerntesikkation mit Roundup UltraMax und Roundup TURBO - die neue
Qualität in der Erntedurchführung. Feiffer Consult, from http://feiffer-consult.de/index.html.
FEIFFER, A., P. FEIFFER, W. KUTSCHENREITER und T. RADEMACHER, 2005: Getreideernte sauber, sicher, schnell. Ein Ratgeber rund um
den Mähdrusch. DLG Mi tteilungen, 129-134.
FREIER, B., J. SELLMANN, J. STRASSEMEYER, J. SCHWARZ, B. KLOCKE, H. KEHLENBECK and W. ZORNBACH, 2013: Netz Vergleichsbetriebe
Pflanzenschutz. Jahresbericht 2012. Analyse der Ergebnisse der Jahre 2007 bis 2012. Berichte aus dem Julius Kühn-
Institut, Julius Kühn-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen. 172, 115.
KEHLENBECK, H., J. SALTZMANN, J. SCHWARZ,P. ZWERGER, H. NORDMEYER, D., ROSSBERG, I. KARPINSKI, J. STRASSEMEYER, B. GOLLA and B. FREIE R,
2015: Folgenabschätzung für die Landwirtschaft zum teilweisen oder vollständigen Verzicht auf die Anwendung von
glyphosathaltigen Herbi ziden in Deutschland. Julius-Kühn-Arc hiv 451, 1-156.
KTBLFIELD WORK CALCULATOR, 2014:
http://daten.ktbl.de/feldarbeit/home.html;jsessionid=B81D63F584E3D262AEEB1A26E0B37013.
KTBL, 2010: Obstbau. Betriebswirtschaftliche und produktionstechnische Kalkulationen. Darmstadt, Kuratorium für Technik
und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft e.V.
MAL, P., J.W. HESSE, M. SCHMITZ and H. GARVERT, 2015: Konservierende Bodenbearbeitung in Deutschland als Lösungsbeitrag
gegen Bodenerosion. Journal für Kulturpflanzen 67 (9), 310-319.
SCHMITZ, M. and H. GARVERT, 2012: Die ökonomische Bedeutung des Wirkstoffes Glyphosat für den Ackerbau in Deutschland.
Journal für Kulturpflanzen 64 (5), 15 0-162.
SCHMITZ, M.P., P. MAL and J.W. HESSE, 2015: The importance of conservation tillage as a contribution to sustainable agriculture: A
special case of soil erosion. Gießen, Institut für A gribusiness.
SCHULTE, M., A. WIESE, H.-H. STEINMANN and L. THEUVSEN, 2015: Glyphosat: So setzen es Landwirte wirklich ein. Top Agrar 9, 54 -56.
27. Deutsche Arbeitsbesprechung über Fragen der Unkrautbiologie und -bekämpfung, 23.-25. Februar 2016 in Braunschweig
Julius-Kühn-Archiv, 452, 2016 289
SCHULTE, M. and L. THEUVSEN, 2015: Der ökonomische Nutzen von Herbiziden im Ackerbau unter besonderer Berücksichtigung
des Wirkstoffs Glyphosat. Journal für Kulturpflanzen 67 (8 ), 269-279.
SCHWARZ, J. and B. PALLUTT, 2012: Dauerfeldversuch nach Neuausrichtung. Dauerfeldversuche im Rahmen der
Pflanzenschutzforschung Teil 2: Einfluss von Bodenbearbeitung und Pflanzenschutzstrategien auf Verunkrautung und
Ertrag. Landwirtschaft ohne Pflug 12, 19-22.
STATISTISCHES BUNDESAMT, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013: Statistische Jahrbücher für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Wiesbaden,
Statistisches Bundesa mt.
STEINMANN, H.-H. and E.S. DOBERS, 2013: Spatio-temporal analysis of crop rotations and crop sequence patterns in Northern
Germany: poten tial implications on plant health a nd crop protection. Journal of Pla nt Diseases and Protection 120 (2), 8 5
94.
STEINMANN, H.-H., A. WIESE, M. SCHULT E, L.A. KONING, L. THEUVSEN and B. GEROWITT, 2015: Agronomic consequences of glyphosate use
- field and farm studies from Germany. XVI II. International Plant Protection Congress. Mission possible: food for all through
appropriate plant protection. Berlin, 143.
... Unfortunately, there is no single herbicide currently available that approximates the characteristics of glyphosate that make it so popular. Those that are similar have narrower weed spectrum, or are non-systemics, or are less effective, or are more expensive (Baylis, 2000;Kehlenbeck et al., 2016;Neal and Senesac, 2018). Typically, alternatives entail multiple herbicides that may have worse ecotoxicological profiles, and require the adoption of different agronomic techniques to even approach the weed control efficacy of glyphosate (Cuhra et al., 2016;Ferrero et al., 2018). ...
... A German study of a rotational cropping system with winter wheat as the main crop, neither farm economics, nor efficacy was estimated to suffer in stubble and pre-sowing, when only plowing was performed. However, in some cases, weed control efficacy may fall and repeated tillage passes, necessitating the expenditure of an estimated 37 €/ha (Kehlenbeck et al., 2016). ...
... One study of the effects from a ban of glyphosate use in no-till systems estimated that weed control efficacy would decrease, and cause yield to decrease by as much as 5% (Kehlenbeck et al., 2016). This study also examined crop desiccation alternatives given that no herbicides are available for this use in cereals, and the possibility to use diquat for oil seed rape desiccation has ended in 2020; not surprisingly, Kehlenbeck et al. (2016) found that drying would cost between 50 and 100 €/ha more in Germany without herbicides. ...
Chapter
Glyphosate is the world's most used herbicide to control weeds in tree and herbaceous crops, and in non-agricultural areas. However, health and environmental concerns, as well as the spread of weed resistance, may lead to a ban or limitations of its use. This event would necessitate that alternative weed control techniques be made available quickly. Potential chemical alternatives include herbicides authorized for the same uses as glyphosate that in this review were identified through searches of the pesticide databases of Italy, Spain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Estonia. Non-chemical control measures encompass mowing, tillage, and cover crops in agricultural areas and mowing, flaming, hot water, hot foam, and steam in non-agricultural areas. Examination of the data reveals that a loss of glyphosate availability would not only require more complex and expensive weed managements, but also integration of multiple weed control techniques.
... For example, the combination of non-inversion tillage and no glyphosate was assumed to lead to a 0% to 5% yield decrease, while the preharvest use of glyphosate was assumed to reduce yield reductions by 0% to 5%, that is, for each scenario minimum, mean, and maximum values were estimated. The full report on the study is only available in German (Kehlenbeck et al. 2015), but a paper summarizing the outcome of the report is available in English (Kehlenbeck et al. 2016). ...
... Another desk study by researchers from Göttingen University evaluated the impact that a glyphosate ban would have on German arable farming (Schulte et al. 2016). In this study, the background information came from a survey comprising data from 2,026 farms and interviews with farm advisors, that is, in contrast to the study by Kehlenbeck et al. (2015Kehlenbeck et al. ( , 2016, data were available on the actual use pattern of glyphosate. Three crop rotations were included in the study, and for each crop rotation three scenarios were assessed: (1) farmers currently plowing and continuing to plow their land; (2) farmers practicing non-inversion tillage but changing to plowing following a glyphosate ban; and (3) farmers practicing non-inversion tillage and continuing to do so following a glyphosate ban. ...
... The economic consequences of a glyphosate ban estimated by Schulte et al. (2016) were in the same range as reported by Kehlenbeck et al. (2015Kehlenbeck et al. ( , 2016. For the plowing/plowing scenario, the average reduction in income varied from €27 to €38 ha −1 (US $30 to US$42 ha −1 ). ...
Article
The glyphosate controversy before the renewal of the authorization of glyphosate in the European Union (EU) once again turned the spotlight on pesticide regulation in the EU. In the EU, pesticides are attracting more public attention than in other parts of the world, and many nongovernmental organizations specifically target pesticide regulation, trying to influence politicians and other decision makers. Following an overview of the EU pesticide legislation and the impact hitherto on EU agriculture, this paper outlines the glyphosate controversy and presents the outcome of desk studies conducted in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Sweden on the potential effects of a glyphosate ban on agricultural productivity and farm income. All studies concluded that the loss of income depends very much on farm type and cropping practice, but they all reached the conclusion that particularly no-tillage farming/conservation agriculture will be facing severe problems without glyphosate to control weeds and terminate cover crops. No-tillage/conservation agriculture is viewed as an effective strategy to prevent soil erosion and loss of nutrients, which could become larger problems without glyphosate. Other issues highlighted in the studies were the impact on resistance management, as glyphosate is largely seen as a “herbicide-resistance breaker.” Without glyphosate, fundamental changes in farming practices in the EU are required, and it is hard to imagine that they will come without a cost, at least in the short term.
... While this example is an obvious candidate, other uses of GBH will need a more thorough analysis of reasons and patterns to explore their necessity. Sales data and experimental results give limited insight into actual field use; expert opinion (Schmitz and Garvert, 2012), farmer questionnaires (Steinmann et al., 2012;Wiese et al., 2017), long term analyses of weed management strategies (Young, 2006;Duke and Powles, 2008;Powles, 2008;Owen et al., 2015) and alternative methods (Kehlenbeck et al., 2015) are conducted. Several of these studies concluded that using GBH is simple, convenient and economical. ...
... Alternatives to GBH treatments (e.g. mechanical measures) are available and can offer an efficacy almost equivalent to GBH, although the economic benefits of GBH depend on region, yield expectation, tillage system and mechanical equipment, or availability of sufficient field work days (Kehlenbeck et al., 2015). The indiscriminate use of GBH regardless of alternatives is opposed to the principle 'non-chemical methods over herbicides' of Integrated Weed Management (European Directive 2009/128/EC on sustainable use of pesticides). ...
... While various regional effects will differ, primary tillage will definitely be adapted. Previous studies (Kehlenbeck et al., 2015;Wiese et al., 2017) indicate that GBH treatments and selective herbicide intensities are often reduced by tillage. However, increasing tillage intensities have their disadvantages: e.g., potential erosion, consuming energy and degrading biological soil structures. ...
Article
We present a detailed analysis of glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) use patterns with a dataset of herbicide use on arable farms in five districts of Northern Germany. Two aspects are focused: (1) The relationship between GBH and selective herbicides used on a specific field in the same cropping period and (2) the interplay of tillage, GBH and selective herbicide use in weed management. The most interesting result of our analysis is that the intensity of selective herbicide use for in-crop weed management was not related to GBH treatment prior to the crop (except maize). GBH treatments increased the total herbicide intensity on a field. Hence, using GBH pre-crop does not necessarily save herbicides in the following crop. GBH were additional treatments, not replacing selective herbicides. Our data was collected from different districts in Northern Germany extending from West to East. In the Eastern districts, a larger proportion of fields were treated with GBH. When a field was treated with GBH, it was applied with a similar intensity, regardless of the district. Hence, differences in GBH use patterns were caused only by the decision to treat pre-crop, while the intensity of these GBH treatments is hardly varied. In the Eastern districts, the higher proportion of fields treated with GBH is associated with larger proportion of fields with non-plough tillage. Non-plough fields were also treated more intensively with selective herbicides. Nevertheless, the use of both GBH and selective herbicides on the same field was more frequent and intensive in the Western districts of Northern Germany. We attribute the differences in pre-crop GBH use and in-crop selective herbicide use to regional production differences. Small to medium proportions of fields with both ploughing for primary tillage and pre-crop GBH use in all districts and most prominent in winter barley, winter wheat and maize indicate a luxurious, easy reducible use of GBH. We propose to promote farms with non-and low-use of GBH as an example of good practice.
... If instead you are advising German officials on whether to allow GM corn ? glyphosate in north-west Germany, where chemical alternatives aside from glyphosate are ineffective for weed control (Kehlenbeck et al. 2016), and non-chemical mechanical options exacerbate serious local erosion concerns (Schmitz et al. 2015), then, given information on associated tilling methods (Schmitz et al. 2015;Kehlenbeck et al. 2016), our ecosystem protection principle will probably favour advising the use of GM corn ? glyphosate, in conjunction with conservation tilling. ...
... If instead you are advising German officials on whether to allow GM corn ? glyphosate in north-west Germany, where chemical alternatives aside from glyphosate are ineffective for weed control (Kehlenbeck et al. 2016), and non-chemical mechanical options exacerbate serious local erosion concerns (Schmitz et al. 2015), then, given information on associated tilling methods (Schmitz et al. 2015;Kehlenbeck et al. 2016), our ecosystem protection principle will probably favour advising the use of GM corn ? glyphosate, in conjunction with conservation tilling. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper concerns virtue-based ethical principles that bear upon agricultural uses of technologies, such as GM crops and CRISPR crops. It does three things. First, it argues for a new type of virtue ethics approach to such cases. Typical virtue ethics principles are vague and unspecific. These are sometimes useful, but we show how to supplement them with more specific virtue ethics principles that are useful to people working in specific applied domains, where morally relevant domain-specific conditions recur. We do this while still fulfilling the need for principles and associated practical reasoning to flexibly respect variation between cases. Second, with our more detailed approach we criticize and improve upon a commonly discussed principle about ecosystemic external goods that are crucial for human flourishing. We show this principle is far more conservative than appreciated, as it would prohibit many technology uses that are uncontroversially acceptable. We then replace this principle with two more specific ones. One identifies specific conditions in which ecosystem considerations are against a technology use, the other identifies favorable conditions. Third, we uncover a humility-based principle that operates within an influential “hubris argument” against uses of several biotechnologies in agriculture. These arguments lack a substantive theory of the nature of humility. We clarify such a theory, and then use it to replace the uncovered humility-based principle with our own more specific one that shifts focus from past moral failings, to current epistemic limits when deciding whether to support new technologies.
... In the European context, where genetically modified crops are not approved, economic assessments of a potential glyphosate ban point to additional variable costs (e.g., for machinery, fuel and labor; Mal et al. 2015) and to reductions in yield (e.g., due to higher weed pressure; Cook et al. 2010;Schmitz and Garvert 2012). The assessments also emphasize that economic outcomes of replacing glyphosate-based herbicides in arable farming largely depend on natural (e.g., soil quality, slope and climate) and farm conditions (e.g., machinery equipment and crop rotation system; Kehlenbeck et al. 2016;Steinmann et al. 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Glyphosate is controversially discussed because of its alleged harmful effects on human health and the environment. Although it is approved until December 2022 in the European Union, the Austrian government discusses a national ban. Research on farmers’ intentions to deal with upcoming pesticide policy changes is limited and planned responses to a national glyphosate ban may inform accompanying measures and the development of weed management alternatives. Therefore, we have conducted 41 qualitative semi-structured interviews with farmers to explore their intended weed management if glyphosate-based herbicides were no longer available in Austria. The interviews were systematically analyzed, whereby the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) with its three social-psychological constructs served as guidance, i.e., attitude toward the planned behavior, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control toward the planned behavior. We grouped farmers based on differences in their behavioral intentions toward glyphosate-free weed management, and identified four types of farmers by assigning group-specific attributes of the TPB constructs to the groups of farmers with similar behavioral intentions. Given a national glyphosate ban, the farmers intend to implement either mechanical or chemical alternatives, which would be solely applied or combined with changes in cultivation. Attitude toward the planned behavior, descriptive norms, and perceived behavioral control affect behavioral intentions, whereas injunctive norms do not differ much between the interviewed farmers. What unites the four types of farmers is that they would rather accept a glyphosate ban, if weed management alternatives with similar effectiveness and costs were available.
... While pre/post-sowing glyphosate treatments are expected to be substantially decreased, farmer respondents suggested to increase mechanical tillage passes on stubbles and shortly before sowing (Fig. 3). Mechanical stubble management is considered to be one of the non-chemical alternatives to control weeds in arable farming (Fogliatto et al., 2020), although the economic benefits depend on region, yield expectation, tillage system, mechanical equipment and the availability of sufficient field work days (Kehlenbeck et al., 2016;Schappert et al., 2018;Wiese et al., 2017;Wynn et al., 2014). ...
Article
Recent analysis of European on-farm data revealed yield instability for winter oilseed rape (WOSR). To better facilitate farmers, the main participants in agriculture, it is of vital importance to interpret how the fluctuation in crop yields and other potential factors may influence farmers’ perspectives and decision-making in the future. However, few studies have explored this aspect. This research aims to focus on farmers′ concerns and anticipated behaviour adjustments for future WOSR production. By using a case study in north-eastern Germany, an online farmer survey was developed to explore the situation regarding past and future production and management of European WOSR. One of the most interesting findings is that the farmer participants anticipated to grow a smaller share of WOSR in the future with a one-year longer rotation gap. Crop yields was suggested to be a major factor influencing this decision change. Farmers are concerned about the future infestation risks of insect pests and fungal diseases in WOSR, thus they expressed potential related adjustments in crop varieties (Turnip yellows virus and clubroot resistant cultivars) and management strategies (e.g., increase insecticide use, adjust rotation rotations). Their behaviours were also highly influenced by the regulation changes at European and national levels, especially regarding glyphosate and fertilizer restrictions. Potential future weather extremes caused by climate changes are also of concerns to farmers. This study helps provide indications for future WOSR production in Europe. However, the findings about farmers’ behavioural inclinations due to WOSR yield instability, regulation adjustments and environmental changes may also be useful for other regions globally that have similar conditions.
... As multiple resistant weeds proliferate, farmers will be forced towards more complex integrated weed management programmes that are environment friendly 23 . As a consequence, this would lead to developing a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and landscapes to fulfil many of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 23,72,73,157,158 . Sustainable management of soil health and sustainable agriculture is critical to advancing several SDGs (Table 1), especially those related to alleviating poverty (#1), ending hunger (#2), improving health (#3), clean water (#6), economic growth (#8), and climate action (#13). ...
... Agronomically, crop choice and crop sequence influence the use of glyphosate and the intensity of use varies between crops (Andert et al., 2018). In Germany, winter cereals are treated most frequently with glyphosate (Kehlenbeck et al., 2016), while sugar beets are treated most intensively, hence with the highest annual dose rate (Vasel et al., 2012;Andert et al., 2018). ...
Article
Data on agricultural pesticide use are of increasing interest since understanding farmers’ pesticide use patterns is crucial for farm business, farm advisory, and agricultural and environmental policy. Member states of the European Union established different systems to estimate applied amounts of active ingredients per crop and hectare. However, the aggregation of use data at crop level lacks information of farm-specific use patterns. Former studies showed that pesticide use varies strongly between farms. Consequently, approaches are needed to obtain more farm or field-specific data of pesticide use. Glyphosate is the most applied active ingredient worldwide and widely used in Germany. Studies have been carried out in recent years to analyze glyphosate use patterns in German arable farming. For this study, data of a glyphosate-related survey conducted among German farmers were compared with field record data from on-farm studies. Using data originating from the two different sources will help to judge the comparability and adequacy of the methods. This comparison has not been done before for the case of glyphosate or any other pesticide. Questionnaire-based surveys among farmers correspond predominantly with field records, even in the highly political case of glyphosate. In view of glyphosate use patterns, the study indicates that many farmers are not fully aware of the difference between two uses currently registered: stubble and pre-sowing applications. In the on-going public debate, consistent definitions of glyphosate uses are needed to ensure clear communication between stakeholders.
Article
Background Worldwide, amphibian populations are declining drastically. One reason might be the use of pesticides including herbicides. The herbicide glyphosate is an inhibitor of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP) synthase of the plant shikimate pathway, preventing the formation of aromatic amino acids and thus inducing plant death. Due to this specific action, GBH are considered non-toxic to non-target organisms. However, GBH impairs embryonic development of chickens, amphibians and fishes. So far, no detailed tissue- and organ-specific analysis of the effects of GBH during development in amphibians has been performed. Results We demonstrated that GBH Roundup® LB plus has a negative effect on embryonic development of the South African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. GBH treatment with sublethal concentrations resulted in a reduced body length and mobility of embryos. Furthermore, incubation with GBH led to smaller eyes, brains and cranial cartilages in comparison to untreated embryos. GBH incubation also resulted in shorter cranial nerves and had an effect on cardiac development including reduced heart rate and atrium size. On a molecular basis, GBH treatment led to reduced expression of marker genes in different tissues and developmental stages. Conclusion GBH leads to disturbed embryonic development of Xenopus laevis.
Article
Crop sequence patterns are considered as those schemes farmers apply within a single field to succeed crops over time, regardless of whether the same crop is grown continuously or a diverse rotation is used. This study aimed at identifying these patterns for a large and representative area in Northern Germany during a six-year period from 2005 to 2010. The analysis was carried out for the entire federal state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) which has 1.8 million hectares of arable area. Field data was obtained by the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), which was developed for the administration of the European agricultural direct payments. So far, German IACS has not been exploited in the light of agronomical practice. In total, the available data comprised about 990 000 records for each year, each representing a single field out of the study region. Throughout the analysis, different agronomic and temporal scopes resulted in a different number of fields being accessible for evaluation. Ten major arable crops and crop groups were considered for the study; 184 701 fields representing 645 870 ha of arable area could be analyzed to identify crop sequence patterns over the six years. Thus, 16 836 combinations of the 10 major crops occurring in time and space could be described. Thereof, 12 crop sequence patterns were found covering 55.6% of arable area. For 2010, 619 447 fields representing 1 730 564 ha of arable area, were analyzed with regard to their respective crops and pre-crops. Maize, winter wheat, sugar beet, oilseed rape and potatoes were studied with special emphasis. On average, 46.9% of maize area were cropped following maize as a pre-crop. For winter wheat, self-sequences were identified on 30.0% of arable area. Oilseed rape and sugar beet are generally grown in typical rotations. However, 24.6% of arable crop area were considered as having a pre-crop which might be disadvantageous for crop health. Due to a rapid increase of maize area in the region, crop sequence patterns are undergoing a dramatic shift. It is concluded that a large proportion of arable area is potentially threatened by risks of pest and disease outbreaks as well as by economical over-reliance in a few cash crops. We demonstrate, that administrative data could offer many insights in agronomical trends and practices and should, therefore, be analyzed in more detail.
Article
Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide across a wide range of UK crops and in the amenity and home and garden sectors as it is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide that provides a wide range of benefits to users. Glyphosate is strongly adsorbed to soil particles and, even though it is highly water soluble, it does not leach readily into soil and ground water. Monitoring studies show that glyphosate findings in groundwater are rare (typically <1% of the samples). Glyphosate is however frequently detected in surface waters (20-30% of the samples), but generally well below the threshold for ecotoxicological concern. Nevertheless, the presence of glyphosate in water at all has led to concerns that restrictions may eventually be put on its use. To place this in context, this paper assesses the value of glyphosate use, both pre-harvest and post-harvest/preplanting, in the main UK arable crops (cereals and oilseeds) and looks at the potential implications of a withdrawal of approval for the use of glyphosate on combinable crops in the UK.
Glyphosat: So setzen es Landwirte wirklich ein
  • M Schulte
  • A Wiese
  • H.-H Steinmann
  • L Theuvsen
SCHULTE, M., A. WIESE, H.-H. STEINMANN and L. THEUVSEN, 2015: Glyphosat: So setzen es Landwirte wirklich ein. Top Agrar 9, 54-56.
Betriebswirtschaftliche und produktionstechnische Kalkulationen
KTBL, 2010: Obstbau. Betriebswirtschaftliche und produktionstechnische Kalkulationen. Darmstadt, Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft e.V.
Glyphosate-use in North German arable farming differs regionally. XVIII. International Plant Protection Congress. Mission possible: food for all through appropriate plant protection
  • S Andert
  • J Bürger
  • B Gerowitt
ANDERT, S., J. BÜRGER and B. GEROWITT, 2015: Glyphosate-use in North German arable farming differs regionally. XVIII. International Plant Protection Congress. Mission possible: food for all through appropriate plant protection. Berlin: 143.
Konservierende Bodenbearbeitung in Deutschland als Lösungsbeitrag gegen Bodenerosion
  • P Mal
  • J W Hesse
  • M Schmitz
  • H Garvert
MAL, P., J.W. HESSE, M. SCHMITZ and H. GARVERT, 2015: Konservierende Bodenbearbeitung in Deutschland als Lösungsbeitrag gegen Bodenerosion. Journal für Kulturpflanzen 67 (9), 310-319.
Neue Anwendungsbestimmungen für Pflanzenschutzmittel mit dem Wirkstoff Glyphosat. BVL-Fachmeldungen
BVL, 2014: Neue Anwendungsbestimmungen für Pflanzenschutzmittel mit dem Wirkstoff Glyphosat. BVL-Fachmeldungen, http://www.bvl.bund.de/DE/04_Pflanzenschutzmittel/05_Fachmeldungen/2014/2014_05_21_Fa_Neue_Anwendung_Gly phosat.html?nn=1400938.
The importance of conservation tillage as a contribution to sustainable agriculture: A special case of soil erosion
  • M P Schmitz
  • P Mal
  • J W Hesse
SCHMITZ, M.P., P. MAL and J.W. HESSE, 2015: The importance of conservation tillage as a contribution to sustainable agriculture: A special case of soil erosion. Gießen, Institut für Agribusiness.
Der ökonomische Nutzen von Herbiziden im Ackerbau unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Wirkstoffs Glyphosat
  • L Theuvsen
SCHULTE, M. and L. THEUVSEN, 2015: Der ökonomische Nutzen von Herbiziden im Ackerbau unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Wirkstoffs Glyphosat. Journal für Kulturpflanzen 67 (8), 269-279.
Statistische Jahrbücher für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  • Statistisches Bundesamt
STATISTISCHES BUNDESAMT, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013: Statistische Jahrbücher für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Wiesbaden, Statistisches Bundesamt.