National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum

Dr. Mike Owen, Professor, Agronomy


The Iowa Grain Quality Initiative sponsored a National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum in 2004.  The goal of the forum was to provide a forum where the major commodity associations can freely discuss the implications of the evolution of glyphosate resistance in weeds on US agriculture and consider if current levels of extension recommended stewardship are appropriate.   The forum was held in St. Louis in November 2004 with 10 university professors, 6 industry representatives, and 22 commodity leaders participating.  Participants indicated that the forum was a great success and an appropriate process to discuss these issues.  A final report was published.

1) To obtain science-based updates on glyphosate resistant weeds and future projections.
2) To consider the effects of glyphosate resistant weeds on US agriculture and production systems.
3) To consider the benefits and risks associated with glyphosate and glyphosate-resistant crop technologies.
4) To discuss and assess the specific issues and concerns of each commodity.
5) To discuss and determine if these concerns warrant additional action.

After many delays and revisions, the final report detailing the activities and decisions at the National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum is now available.  The goal developed by the committee was to " provide a forum where growers from several of the major commodity associations can learn about and freely discuss the implications of weeds evolving glyphosate resistance in US agriculture, consider if current stewardship efforts are appropriate, and develop recommendations regarding additional measures warranted ". 
The forum was envisioned by a number of concerned weed scientists from land grant universities in Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Michigan, North Carolina, and Iowa. Invitations to the soybean, sugarbeet, canola, cotton, wheat, and corn grower associations were offered.  Twenty growers and association staff attended representing the six commodities.  Five university weed scientists were invited to make brief presentations and three industry presentations were provided.  Eight other observers were invited to the forum, and the discussion was facilitated by Mindy Habecker from the University of Wisconsin. .  The forum was convened with grower association, industry and university perspectives were well-represented.

There was consensus agreement by forum participants that glyphosate stewardship program should be voluntarily implemented and that specific governmental regulations describing stewardship tactics should not be considered.  Also, all attendees strongly supported the importance of glyphosate and glyphosate resistant crops to US agriculture.

It is interesting to note that during the development and completion of the National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum final report, several new weeds were reported as having evolved glyphosate resistant populations.  The continued evolution of glyphosate resistant weeds was predicted by the Extension weed scientists who made presentation at the NGSF and this foresight lends credibility to the utility of the effort.  Also, the newly evolved glyphosate resistant weeds strongly suggests a need for urgency with regard to the grower adoption of glyphosate stewardship practices.
Glyphosate stewardship efforts have resulted in a number of useful publications, symposia and grower information.
The first effort was the National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum held November 2005 in St. Louis. The forum determined what growers, on a national scale, were thinking with regard to the unprecedented adoption of glyphosate-resistant crops and the use of glyphosate as the primary, if not sole, weed management tactic. Growers discussed the utilization of glyphosate technology and the implications of glyphosate-resistant weeds on their individual farms. The report from this national forum was released on the Iowa State University weed science Web page. National Glyphosate Stewardship Forum Report
The second glyphosate stewardship effort was accomplished by a coalition of weed scientists from the North Central Weed Science Society, including Iowa State University extension weed scientists. This group has been active in promoting the stewardship of glyphosate in conjunction with glyphosate-resistant crops. These efforts are designed to provide growers, agriculturalists, and the private industry with science-based, objective information about the benefits and risks involved with the use of glyphosate and the glyphosate-resistant crops. This coalition of weed scientists has collaborated on the development of a series of publications that will be printed at Purdue University. The publications are part of the Glyphosate, Weeds, and Crops Series, which will ultimately include publications on glyphosate-resistant weeds, problem weeds, general stewardship considerations, economics, and other topics. The first two publications, Glyphosate, Weeds, and Crops: Biology and Management of Horseweed and Glyphosate, Weeds, and Crops: Biology and Management of Wild Buckwheat were recently completed and are now available. It is anticipated that the other publications in this important effort will be available in the near future. For more information, refer to the Iowa State University weed science Web page. An article Glyphosate stewardship information is available appeared in the IC-496 (7) -- April 17, 2006 issue.
A third effort was a symposium/open discussion that was held at the 2005 Weed Science Society of America annual meeting.  The symposium was attended by over 150 national and international weed scientists representing the university community, the public sector and private industry.
A fourth effort on glyphosate stewardship was a symposium organized by the coalition of North Central weed scientists and held at the National IPM Meeting in April, 2006.  A number of presentations were given discussing the importance and implications of glyphosate stewardship.

May 5, 2006
123 - Grain Quality Initiative

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