Snopes time warp over preharvest glyphosate usage

Snopes is the famous site to check the veracity of facts, rumours and internet memes.  The snopes article titled “The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic” attempts to present impartial evidence about glyphosate in our food.   In general, the article is fair, but I have an issue with the section leading us to believe that the preharvest application of glyphosate to wheat is NOT common.

 

They appear to be using internet comments from farmers as a source of evidence for this.  Trouble is that the comments appear to be from 1982!

I provide a rebuttal to the internet comments they use below:

Random Internet comment snopes uses as “evidence” that appear to be written in 1982

My response (March 2017)

I grew up and still am around a farm that produces over 500+ acres of wheat and that is not at all how it’s harvested nor is that how it’s harvested in thousands of other acres around the state. Round up has no need to be sprayed before harvest and farmers don’t put anything on wheat months before harvest as it slows down the drying process in turn delaying harvest. “and farmers don’t put anything on wheat months before harvest as it slows down the drying process in turn delaying harvest” 

Back in 1982 this was what farmers thought.  Here is how to do it now straight from the makers of Roundup!

Our family has been wheat/cattle ranchers for generations. And we’ve never heard of anyone doing this and we ourselves sure don’t. We raise winter wheat on 2,000 acres in NW Oklahoma on the incorporated family farm. The wheat usually doesn’t need help to “die” so it can be harvested. Glyphosate wasn’t used by generations of wheat farmers anywhere.  It is now.

According to the USDA in 2004, Oklahama hardly used glyphosate on winter wheat (only 100,000 lbs).  I will presume that this was applied preharvest as you probably aren’t growing roundup resistant wheat out there.    In 2015, this number is closer to 1,000,000 lbs of GLYPHOSATE POT. SALT = 103613 and GLYPHOSATE ISO. SALT = 103601.

How do you think it gets in our bread?

The USDA numbers for Oklahama are here and painful to retrieve.  Things are not OK in Oklahoma.

 

 

I am a farmer’s wife in central Kansas, and for my whole 36 years of life, and can assure you this is not a common practice. We are not an organic farm, and we do not use Round-Up on our wheat to kill it for harvest. Wheat ripens naturally on its own — the plants lose their green color and the heads tips down — usually as the summer heat comes on in June. Judging by USDA numbers, it looks like over 3,000,000 lbs were applied to the winter wheat in Kansas annually by 2012.  This number has grown quite a bit from 166,000 in 1993.  I guess that makes you over 60 years old now! Congratulations!

 

The USDA numbers for Kansas are here and painful to retrieve.

 

I know of no wheat farmer in the US that sprays glyphosate or RoundUp on their wheat. It is not a practice that is endorsed on our farm and would never suggest it to another farmer. Wheat close to the stage of harvest has already completed its lifecycle, so from an economic perspective it’s a complete waste of money to spray the crop. “from an economic perspective it’s a complete waste of money to spray the crop.”

Only if you consider the potential harm of putting glyphosate in our food!

 

“I know of no wheat farmer in the US that sprays glyphosate or RoundUp on their wheat”

I live in Canada in a city and I know a few US wheat farmers who do.

Lemme guess, you wrote this comment in 1982?  I wish we could all go back there.

Here are a couple links to people applying preharvest glyphosate on wheat around the world.

Montana 2009

North Dakota 2014

Minnesota 2014

Alberta 2014

Australia

Poland 2014

Ontario

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Texas

Illinois

Oklahoma

Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan

Interestingly, I don’t think China is using much of it AND they don’t like importing wheat that has glyphosate residue.  Who knows how long this will last, but it might be safer to eat bread imported from China than Canada.

Coming from a completely conventional farm family we also have never and know no one who has ever done this. It doesn’t make sense financially and that is the reason cited for doing it. Roundup is expensive as is the application especially as it would have to be done by air plane to avoid destroying the crop. “Makes no sense financially”

The advent of pre-harvesting with glyphosate has allowed us to eliminate the swathing step completely. Not having to swath our wheat saves us time, labor, and resources like fuel and trips in and out of the field. By pre-harvesting our wheat with glyphosate, we are able to simply use a combine to harvest it as we do with the rest of our crops. We also don’t have to run or maintain two pieces of equipment; the combine does all the work. With swathing there is also a danger of the downed wheat sprouting, any time you lay grain on the ground; there is the chance of a heavy rain causing sprout damage in the windrow.

You are incorrect. My family farms and I can tell you for a fact that putting Round up on a crop ready to harvest is simply not done. Besides being a big waste of money (do you have any clue how much herbicide is needed for a 100 acre field? Or how much it costs a producer to apply it just once?), it makes no sense to apply it once the crop has lived its life cycle. I hope you are still on the family farm, and growing wheat without preharvest application of glyphosate!    But I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

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