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Field of green soybeans. yelena yemchuk/ThinkstockPhotos

Brazil Court gives green light to glyphosate

Brazilian farmers were on the edge of their seats before a court okayed the weed killer for upcoming planting season.

A federal Brazilian appellate court has given the green light for the use of glyphosate in the 2018-19 crop year, just a bit more than a week before planting can begin.

Farmers in Brazil were on the edge of their seats over the appeal, which overturned a lower court’s total ban on the use of the product after court proceedings in the United States blamed glyphosate for causing cancer

Brazil Ag Minister Blairo Maggi pointed out that the tropical country would not be able to produce a soybean crop without use of the product, and farm groups led the effort to overturn the court order.

After all, a study by Agroconsult, a Brazilian firm, indicated that use of GMOs has meant a 26% savings, per hectare for all Brazilian farmers over the past 20 years. Savings for summer crops came to 64%, and second-crop corn savings climbed as high as 152% according to the study.

Most anxious

One of the farmers most anxious about the ruling was Joao Conrado Schmidt, a farmer in the Brazilian state of Parana. He’s got 2,500 liters of glyphosate stored in his shed. He’ll plant 1,600 acres of beans shortly, and nearly 900 acres of main-crop corn this year.

When I asked him what he would have done without glyphosate, he said, “Good question. I really don’t know.”

And, he said, all his neighbors depend on glyphosate as well.

Schmidt plants about 90% RR beans in his fields. He uses both Monsanto’s RR glyphosate and knockoff brands from Israel.

My guess is that Brazilian farmers would use whatever glyphosate they’ve got on hand despite any court order, and hope for the best. I mean, it would be nearly impossible to send inspectors our to each rural property across Brazil in order to establish whether they’re using the product or not. And most, like, Schmidt, have already purchased their year’s supply, planning on a favorable harvest.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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