November 13, 2017
Tackling weeds on a French cereal farm

French farmer Jean-Christophe stands in his cereal field

Jean-Christophe is a cereal farmer in the Loiret region of France. He has been running his farm for 10 years and uses both organic and conventional farming techniques. Since taking over the farm, Jean-Christophe has diversified the crop rotation and now produces oilseeds such as rapeseed and maize, as well as several types of cereals, including spring barley, winter barley and high-protein wheat.

Using your common sense, living with the countryside, working in a vital industry, feeding people and always doing your best and with hope – these are the values of farming,” said Jean-Christophe.

Jean-Christophe balances glyphosate use and mechanical weed-control methods. Mechanical work, such as ploughing, can lead to soil erosion, while using glyphosate allows control of weeds with minimal or no tillage, as well as lowering fuel consumption and labour hours.

“I use organic weeding techniques on my conventionally grown crops, which means I can apply fewer pesticides,” said Jean-Christophe. “I always prefer to use alternative methods, but chemicals are tools that I will use on my conventional growing sections as a last resort to save a crop.”

Before adopting the practice, Jean-Christophe carefully considered using glyphosate to tackle weeds on his conventional crop plantations. He only uses glyphosate on crops that are not intended for harvest or to clear the land between plantings, which reduces the need for herbicides on the following crop.

“Bindweed found in the crops is directly harmful to our production and it multiplies, since it is a perennial weed. If you plough you simply cut the roots of the bindweed and spread it a little farther, so it moves quickly across our fields. To tackle this, we use glyphosate to destroy bindweed in the summer when there are no more crops. Currently, glyphosate is one of only a handful of affordable products available for farmers to combat bindweed,” said Jean-Christophe.

Banning glyphosate use in the EU will have a large impact on Jean-Christophe and the way that he manages his farm. 

“Nobody is asking the farming industry what it thinks about using glyphosate. Today, glyphosate is a tool that isn’t used systematically; it is a solution for the farmer in certain situations. I think that a farmer can use glyphosate in this way occasionally and it won’t necessarily be harmful to the sustainability of their farm.”

“This is why the decision on whether to use glyphosate or not must be taken by those who understand and care for the land,” said Jean-Christophe.

To find out more watch this video of Jean-Christophe and his farm.



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