Glyphosate herbicides have been used for decades, all around the globe, with incredible success in eradicating weeds.
Despite its proven track record as an effective herbicide, there has been a lot of concern and commentary raised about the safe use of Glyphosate (best known as the brand Roundup®). As so often, press coverage and social media propelled these claims, many of which are simply incorrect.
For example, while commentators have been negative towards Glyphosate off the back of a recent court case in the US, the reality is that the specific case in question was more about the correct label use rather than the product itself. In that sense, we all know of many products that are harmful should they be used incorrectly.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information out there, so we wanted to write this article to:
- Debunk some myths around Glyphosate and
- Highlight the Glyphosate alternative options that are readily available
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a chemical used to effectively control annual and perennial weeds, unwanted trees and noxious woody weeds. Developed in 1970 by Monsanto, Glyphosate works by inhibiting a specific enzyme which results in the death of the sprayed plant.
Since 1974 the product has been marketed under the brand name ‘Roundup®’, which today is one of the most commonly used herbicides around the world and is one of the most well-known brands in Agriculture.
Is Glyphosate safe?
We wanted to explain this controversial topic and debunk some of the concerns that people may have about the use of Glyphosate herbicides and the carcinogenic nature of the product.
The current assessment by the APVMA is that herbicide products containing Glyphosate are safe to use, as long as the user is following the label instructions.
All Glyphosate herbicide products sold by Specialist Sales have been registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). These APVMA registered products have been through rigorous chemical risk assessments, which includes the exposure risk to humans and the link to cancer. For more details, head to the APVMA page on Glyphosate.
Furthermore, several other organisations have weighed in on the carcinogenic conversation:
- In 2015, the European Health Authority stated that Glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic or genetic threat to humans.
- In 2016, the World Health Organisation also made similar statements, citing that Glyphosate does not necessarily constitute a health risk to humans, outlining safety limits for daily Glyphosate exposure.
- The European Chemicals Agency has not found evidence implicating Glyphosate to have carcinogenic effects.
As with many other chemicals, what is important to understand about Glyphosate safety is that these products are safe to use, provided they are used according to the instructions on the label.
All Specialist Sales Glyphosate products include a product label and safety data sheet that outlines the correct directions for using the herbicide. This includes wearing personal protective equipment when handling and using Glyphosate herbicide products. We want to remind users of the importance of always following these label instructions whenever using herbicides or any other chemicals.
Types of Glyphosate
Glyphosate is available in two forms: granules and liquid. Neither is more superior to the other and they each have their own benefits. It really comes down to the problem being treated, the size of the area requiring treatment and your preference in terms of granules or liquid.
In this next section, we will discuss these two options in more detail.
Liquid Glyphosate is a water-soluble, non-volatile, non-selective herbicide, which is particularly effective and practical for broadacre use. We sell three strengths of this liquid, with the strength referring to the g/L of the active ingredient Glyphosate:
- 360g/L – This is often a bioactive formulation that is safe around waterways, and commonly used for aquatic weeds and environmental work.
- 450g/L – Originally brought out as Roundup CT, this strength is commonly used to spray weeds for broadacre applications.
- 540g/L – Usually these higher load formulations are derived from different glyphosate salts which allow the chemical to translocate faster which offers a shorter rainfast period. They are useful when spraying large areas, and areas seeking greater performance in treating tough weed problems.
The problem you are looking at addressing, along with the size of the area requiring treatment, are both important factors to consider when deciding on which strength Liquid Glyphosate to use.
In terms of application, Liquid Glyphosate is sprayed out after being mixed with water, covering the desired area. Many distribution methods exist for liquid Glyphosate, ranging from simple hose sprayers, knapsack sprayers, high-volume to boom sprays.
- Easy to mix and apply
- Available in various strengths and formulations for specific applications.
- Available in bulk quantities for high volume farming applications.
- Needs to be accurately measured and diluted with the right amount of water.
- Requires large containers for packaging.
Granular Glyphosate is the hard version of the liquid, available as small pellets. Similar to the liquid version, granules are best distributed in liquid form. This is done by diluting the granules with water and applied in exactly the same methods as the liquids. The granules completely dissolve in water to make the spray mix and can be used with other compatible herbicides. The granules are registered to kill over 100 different types of noxious weeds (refer to the directions of use).
The granular formulation is designed for both broadacre farming as well as general-purpose, and the granules are also available in non-aquatic and aquatic formulations. The granules are double the strength of comparative liquid Glyphosate and are fully loaded with wetter, leading to a faster kill time and a shorter rainfast period than comparative concentrate liquids.
The granules are easier to store than liquid options. As an example, granules that come in a 10kg carton are lighter to handle than a 20L drum of liquid, which is actually 25kg in weight. The packaging is environmentally friendly, as it is made from cardboard with no plastic drum to dispose of.
- Relatively easy to apply.
- Less packaging, easier to transport and store.
- 1hr rain-fast window and preloaded with wetting agents.
- Needs to be accurately measured and diluted with the right amount of water.
- Susceptible to moisture and humidity if not stored correctly.
What is the dosage rate for Granular Glyphosate?
The general purpose mixing rate for the granular Glyphosate is 5 grams per 1 Litre of water. A 10kg will make up 2000L. Individual boom spray mixing rates are listed in the directions of use.
Comparison rates for the granular Glyphosate compared to liquids are;
- 515 grams of Glyphosate 700 Granules = 1L Glyphosate 360 Liquid Concentrate
- 640 grams of Glyphosate 700 Granules = 1L Glyphosate 450 Liquid Concentrate
- 770 grams of Glyphosate 700 Granules = 1L Glyphosate 540 Liquid Concentrate
If you are boom spraying at 1L per Ha of Liquid Glyphosate, then use the above grams in granules to work out the grams per Ha. All the Glyphosate Granules are sold with full directions of use, or these and the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are available via our website when you open the description of the individual item.
What are the best alternatives to Glyphosate?
If you no longer want to use Glyphosate, we have alternatives you may be interested in. These products are still highly effective herbicide solutions and are now available on our website. These include both non-organic and organic Glyphosate alternatives.
Non-Organic Glyphosate Alternative: Glufosinate-Ammonium 200
Glufosinate-Ammonium 200 provides broad-spectrum weed control with a high level of crop safety and is very effective to control over 80 species of broadleaf and grass weeds.
Glufosinate-Ammonium 200 is considered an alternative herbicide to Glyphosate, however, it does require 100% coverage to be effective. For detailed information about Glufosinate-Ammonium 200, head to our in-depth article.
Organic Glyphosate Alternative: Slasher organic weedkiller
Looking for an organic herbicide that’s a little faster to take effect than the Glufosinate-Ammonium 200? We have another product that may be just the thing for you – an organic weed killer called Slasher. This product is a non-selective, fast-acting herbicide designed for use around public and private areas where other herbicides may be unsafe to the user, the environment, or the general public. Slasher Organic Weed Killer helps control the spread of seedlings, young broadleaf and grass weeds. The product can also be used for the suppression of established weeds, perennial species, and for the control of moss and algae.
For detailed information about Slasher organic weedkiller, head to our in-depth article.
Organic Glyphosate Alternative: SureFire Slayer organic herbicide
Another organic alternative to Glyphosate is the liquid organic herbicide SureFire Slayer. This non-selective herbicide is ideal for the suppression of established weeds and perennial species and controlling moss and algae. The product is effective when it comes in contact with the green parts of the plant.
Slayer acts fast, in a matter of hours results such as wilting and browning are often evident. It is suitable for use in orchards, vineyards and fallow soil.
Check out our article to learn more about SureFire Slayer organic weedkiller.
Discuss Glyphosate alternatives with us
We hope this article has helped debunk some myths around Glyphosate. Should you have any questions around Glyphosate and Glyphosate alternatives, please feel free to contact our friendly team for the right advice.