A look at the volume of Roundup herbicide and generic glyphosate herbicide that is sold and the crops on which the use of glyphosate is registered, shows there is an obvious reason that future herbicide and herbicide-tolerant crops should also be approved for use with Roundup-tolerant crops, too.
Roundup/glyphosate herbicides are among the most widely used herbicides in the world. The use of Roundup expanded dramatically during the more than 15 years since the adoption of Roundup-ready genetically modified (GM) crops were introduced. During the 2000s, in the U.S. the use of Roundup more than doubled, from 85-90 million pounds in 2001, to more than 180 million pounds in 2007, noted Hector Valenzuela, University of Hawaii at Manoa, in a article posted on “Back 40 Forums.” Roundup is the most commonly used pesticide in the U.S., and it is also widely used in homes, gardens, and urban settings, something for which Valenzuela is most likely to be aware.
Reportedly according to Monsanto as of 2011 there were more approved uses for Roundup, than for any other herbicide. Roundup, also according to Monsanto, was being used in 130 countries and on more than 100 different crops.
Herbicide tolerance represents the main trait used on genetically modified crops. In 2006, the Roundup-tolerance trait represented 81 percent of the total acreage planted globally to genetically modified crops, representing more than 200 million acres. As of 2010, Roundup Ready varieties represented 90 percent of the soybeans and 80 percent of the corn acreage in the U.S. Roundup Ready soybean are the most widely planted genetically modified crop, accounting for 60 percent of the entire global acreage planted to genetically modified crops, Valenzuela noted with reference to worldwide sources.
“Conventional and GM or biotech crop farmers need alternatives to the use of Roundup, because important weed species throughout the world are increasingly showing resistance to the use of this herbicide,” Valenzuela wrote.
Weed resistance to Roundup may develop in as short as three to five years when Roundup Ready crops are grown continuously without rotations. Not only does weed resistance to Roundup reduce the efficiency of production and increases production costs, but farmland with populations of resistant weeds may result in lower leasing or rental rates because farmers won’t pay as much to farm such ground.
Alternatives to glyphosate herbicides are needed, but those have been slow to come since the first resistance was detected. Alternatives to glyphosate, but with the crop tolerance to both an alternative herbicide and glyphosate is the most logical solution to many resistant-weed problems.