• • • Glyphosate talk has WA farmers worried
WA growers are concerned that glyphosate may be taken out of their tool kits, after several international legal decisions pushed the future of the widely-used chemical into a world of uncertainty. The use and future of the broad-spectrum herbicide was a key point of discussion at last week’s Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) 2018 Barley Spring Forum at Dalwallinu, where more than 60 farmers, brewers, researchers and industry stakeholders gathered to discuss what lies ahead for the barley industry. It comes after a Brazilian judge ruled earlier last month to suspend the registration of glyphosate – the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup – until the country’s peak health regulator completed a toxicology re-evaluation.
GIWA chief executive officer Larissa Taylor said contrary to the recent legal findings, several international regulatory bodies – including the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) – had placed glyphosate under rigorous testing and found it safe to use as labelled. Ms Taylor said when it came to glyphosate, it was important to distinguish the difference between the science-based decisions made by regulatory bodies and the legal decisions made in courts. She said the grain industry needed science rather than emotion to inform the public debate about glyphosate. “The European Food Safety Authority in May – after a very extensive whole of EU review – found no cause to suggest that glyphosate is harmful to humans,” Ms Taylor said. “The APVMA also conducted a review in 2016 and came to the same conclusion that glyphosate is safe for human consumption if used at the recommended label rates.