A cotton plant can stretch to 20 metres, making it difficult for the herbicide Roundup to penetrate it.
The plant is a major source of cotton seed for the US and is the mainstay of many American cotton growers.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently decided to discontinue spraying of Roundup on cotton seeds after a study found it was toxic.
“If you go back to the 1960s and 1970s, you’ll see what the farmers were saying: ‘You know what?
I don’t know if I want to continue to grow cotton,'” said John Aiken, a farmer in Kansas.”
It is just not worth it.
It’s just not in our long-term interests.”
The USDA’s decision is not surprising to the farmers who are now using alternative pesticides.
“You can still get the herbicides that are used in the early days of cotton and those are still effective,” said John Dolan, a professor of agronomy at the University of Iowa.
“But now they’re also more expensive and they don’t kill weeds as effectively as Roundup does.”
It is not only farmers who see the difference.
Environmental groups have also expressed concern about the effects of the pesticides on crops and livestock.
“There is now a widespread concern among farmers and their friends and family that the herbicidal spray Roundup is causing a number of adverse health effects,” said the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement.
“We strongly urge the US government to ensure that the US public can have access to the safest and most effective herbicides, as well as the least toxic chemicals.”
Aiken said he has seen the effects firsthand.
“I’ve seen all my crops start to grow very, very quickly, and they’re just like normal, normal cotton plants,” he said.
“That’s not a very healthy condition.”
Farmers across the country are not the only ones to be concerned about the impact of Roundup.
The EPA said that it would phase out the use of glyphosate, which is one of the main chemicals used in Roundup.
“The EPA is committed to ensuring that the safety and efficacy of our chemical portfolio is fully understood by the American public and the wider world, and that the Agency is taking appropriate action to ensure the continued use of safe and effective herbicide agents in the food supply,” a spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for the USDA said that glyphosate was safe to use in agriculture.
“Agricultural uses of herbicides are a fundamental part of the United States agricultural system and we continue to ensure farmers are using the most effective options available to them,” the spokesperson said in a press release.
“As glyphosate is a very broad class of herbicide and can be applied to many different crops, we encourage growers to consider the use and safety of the chemicals.”
“The use of Roundup-Ready cotton products will continue until further notice.”‘
No question that Roundup is going to cause more damage than it’s worth’There are no conclusive studies to back up the claims of a “surge in cancer” among farmers after glyphosate use on cotton plants was phased out.
The World Health Organisation has also highlighted the fact that the “surges in cancer risk are not all related to glyphosate use”.
“No doubt that Roundup’s usage in cotton was a major contributor to the rise in cancer rates in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia,” the WHO said in its report on glyphosate.
“However, this surge in cancer is not a cause for panic.”
It said that “a more robust study is needed to determine the true extent of Roundup’s cancer risk”.
“The overall evidence base for the relationship between glyphosate use and cancer is small,” the report said.
“However there are significant uncertainties in the evidence that exist.
The lack of a clear link between glyphosate and cancer in particular, and the absence of clear evidence that Roundup affects other carcinogenic compounds, raise the concern that the association between Roundup use and other carcinogens is not well established.””
Glyphosate may increase the risk of cancer through the disruption of normal growth, and this may increase exposure to other carcinogen-causing chemicals.”