Saturday, 11 September, 2021

Glyphosate: grain farmers want to get out of it but …

The grain farmers, through the voice of the president of wheat producers, demanded Thursday from the National Assembly for “financial support” from the State to help them get out of glyphosate in the coming years, arguing the additional cost that this measure would entail on their production. “All these developments, all these investments, all these potential reductions (in the use of phytosanitary products), that has important consequences, since behind we have quantified, for our field crops sector, a cost of 950 million euros. C ‘is colossal, “said Eric Thirouin, president of the AGPB, before a parliamentary fact-finding mission on the release of glyphosate.

Among the additional costs generated by weeding without glyphosate, Mr. Thirouin first cited the workforce: “We estimate at 12.7 million the number of additional hours per year that will have to be devoted to our crops”, did he declare. Investments in equipment, substitute products: in all, he estimated, “this can represent additional costs for farms ranging from 50 to 160 euros per hectare”.

“We want to move on, but …”

Insisting on the “particularly worrying economic situation in the sector”, given the difficult harvests experienced by France, sometimes against a backdrop of depressed world prices, he underlined the low incomes of cereal farms over the past six years and the “distortion competition “that this cost would bring on world markets. “We want to move forward, but from the moment when the economic constraints are compensated,” said Mr. Thirouin.

“We are asking that there be financial support for actions carried out by farmers, investment aid (for mechanical weeding), perhaps a tax credit,” said Mr. Thirouin, also asking for support for applied research and experiments. Mr. Thirouin also underlined the negative impact that the release of glyphosate would have on the carbon footprint of farms, in particular because of the energy consumption caused by the increase in plowing, estimated at “87 million additional liters of fuel per year “.

He finally listed the technical dead ends on no-till crops and “other dead ends (…) on the particular perennials such as quackgrass, thistle, bindweed, and toxic allergenic plants”. “There, mechanical work, that is not enough, even it gets worse, because we are going to cut rhizomes which will make more small ones”, concluded Mr. Thirouin.

(With AFP)