The total pounds of active herbicide applied in the U.S. accelerated from 2005 to 2011. That’s the latest detailed data available reported in a comprehensive study by researchers at four universities.
They include the University of Virginia, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, and Kansas State University.
The trendline projected on through 2016 indicates that farmers will soon be applying growing amounts of Roundup, plus as many pounds of non-glyphosate weedkillers as they did before Roundup came on the market.
The “pounds per acre” data probably understates the increase of herbicide trips required to combat resistant weeds, because many of the recently registered herbicides are labeled for just a few ounces per acre, not pints or quarts. Here’s one of the charts from the study:
You can download the entire PDF report at this link.
The study also includes data on pesticide usage. Bt technology has led to a decline in overall insect killers used, so far — probably because federal requirements call for refuge crops to delay onset of insect resistance.
The website Sustainable Pulse commented on the findings, noting that the study documents “massive environmental damage.” When GMO-linked weedkillers first arrived, they were promoted as leading to reduced chemical use.
Longtime friend Chuck Benbrook, who was a featured speaker at our “Renewable Farming” seminars several years ago, commented on the study as reported in Sustainable Pulse. We quote his message to Henry Rowlands of Sustainable Pulse: