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Glyphosate on the bench

Glyphosate on the bench

By Ing. Agr. Daniel Carlos Besso

Lately, as Tata Dios, and Pacha Mama, reacted with their countermeasures of genetic variations of weeds, insects, etc., only now we begin to remember the "management".

In countless farms the facilities for farm management were abandoned, as if the business of "perpetual" agriculture would not one day turn around. AGRONOMIC ENGINEERING is more than just applying "holy remedies". Due to having to take into account so many variables, from economic, ecological, biological, social, etc. is that it is "ENGINEERING", but it would be a simple technique. If you ask me what is wrong with the current agricultural complex "agrochemicals - GMOs", economic concentration ", I must honestly answer you that the greatest damage is having transformed our fields into green deserts.

Someone, without ill intention, told me that perhaps a natural selection occurred, following a Darwinian logic with the introduction of new elements, such as glyphosate, the agrochemical complex and genetically modified varieties.

But "Darwinian logic" is applicable to academics in biology, ecology, etc. but it is not, for me, acceptable in ethical terms, to be applied on productive systems that develop in the same environments where human beings live. Everything that I exposed, on the subject of including rotations and mixed production systems, makes the most elementary agronomic management procedures. Ignoring management measures as a prior, basic and necessary resource, which allow dispensing with applications of agrochemicals, at least in part, does not seem to be part of university academic training. Universitaria means "universal knowledge", seeing the problem from "the whole" as the sum of the parts.

I fancy an example:

If during 2 or 3 years, we stop repeating soy on soy, and "without permission from APRESID", it is plowed during the day inviting seagulls to exterminate horseshoe worms, wire worms, and mole crickets, we already "have one in our bag ". If later, we implant a pasture consociated with enough legumes and inoculate them well, we have N recovery and fertility recomposition, (another in the bag). When the bloody bed bugs appear, they will find that there is no soy and will decrease their number. The weeds that appear will be punished with intensive grazing or better with cleaning and baling cuts. While we "starve" the parasites of our star crop that will decrease their number, we are producing kg of meat, it is not that we would be losing money.

When we go back to our soybeans, the batch will have less resident population of parasites, weeds, and pathogens; they will be more controllable. Meanwhile we spend 3 or 4 years without "glyphing" that batch and without many other agrochemicals that we do not throw, that, by the way, they do not give them away and neither do the applications. Now, knowing that to manage the farm you have to work more, in that I am absolutely right. The hacienda gives more work. Of course this is just an imaginary example. In each case colleagues will study what is most convenient "in the long term." That long-term convenience, taking into account all agronomic parameters, not only circumstantial economic convenience is the true meaning of the word Sustainability, not something else If we are being pushed by economic circumstances, product of wrong policies, not to do things how well we should be, that does not prevent us from being very clear about what we are doing.

It would be better to maintain a conservationist position on the resource as a valid argument in the negotiations. Nobody can object to that.

Regarding glyphosate as well as the agrochemical package in general, I am not saying that they should be banned, but rather that their use should be rationalized. It should be a final resource, when all the rotations, handling practices, etc. have already been carried out. not automatically and first-rate. By no means as a "holy remedy." Today nature is showing with its answer that nothing is.

Whenever I consider rotations as a basic in agronomy in general, I call that "GOOD PRACTICES" AND NOT MAKING MONOCULTURES MORE DELICATELY.

Personally, I cannot conceive of speaking of "GOOD PRACTICES", in the case of a monoculture and still exclusive agriculture.

It would not be the first time that the examples of olive growing, viticulture, forestry and fruit growing have been used as examples of monocultures. It's true, only in those cases there is no remedy. Even so, it is tested with silvopastoral systems or intercropping, during the implantation of fruit trees and other perennials.

In the case of fruit trees or perennial crops such as vine, grass, tea, forestry, there are no possible rotations, but it is possible to collect debris, control the litter and other practices, clean the prunings and burn that material (grapholite and carpocapsa).

Imagine for a moment that the equation is turned upside down. That agrochemicals, measured in kilograms of production, triple or quadruple their price. That although the government changes and retentions go down or disappear, but the price of commodities plummets, that the damage caused by a plague ends up being cheaper than its control. I comment to the girl that this already happened in other times. Given this scenario, what do they do? Do they abandon agriculture? Pendularity is not a good economic decision. Unfortunately, it is promoted by governments.

Actually the dilemma is not: GLIFO YES,… .GLIFO NO. Glyphosate is just one more tool, which must be used with due care AND FREQUENCY, like any agrochemical.

Faced with the outburst of that Cordovan lawyer, who said that the faculties of agronomy should be closed because they generated genocidal professionals, poisoners of the population; jumped like boiled milk the F.A.U.B.A. back was added C.P.I.A. in a corporate defense. It is understandable that they do so and something similar could even be said about the law schools from which almost the entire Argentine political class comes. But I by no means conceive that exclusionary agriculture and the absence of rotations are in any way included in what can be called "good practices".


The discussion is much deeper, it has to do with the usufruct and possession of the land. This has changed profoundly in the last 15 years. The arable and arable land, the land suitable for agriculture changed the composition of its actors. Before, those who held their tenure, generally "per se" or by hiring machinery and services, faced production; when he was not the one who went up "to the iron" and worked personally. Today the production system works through various types of sowing and harvesting organizations, which lease the fields for a productive period (they acquire various legal forms to bypass the laws on leasing), turn to sowing and / or harvest contractors, enforcement contractors of agrochemicals, ... and in general everything necessary is not embodied but is outsourced. Although some actors of the past decade are leaving the stage today.

What does this have to do with the center of our discussion ?: It turns out that decision-making on management measures minimally requires planning for 3 - 4 or 5 years, and this does not fit the current production systems.

To further elaborate, the colleague Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, has refused to receive the liaison table, however he has met with the organizations of producers (by whatever means) of traditional crops of corn, soybeans , wheat and sunflower.

In this way, discrimination is generated between traditional producers and these new organizations that do not have to have their own physical place where they can carry out their activities.

The old system of producing presupposed (although it was not always the case), that the producer, owner of his land, had an inescapable commitment to conserving the resource, as it should continue beyond a season. In addition to the resource, it was part of his inheritance.

A very current way of approaching the study of whatever it is, starts, seeing the problem from "the different axes". The professional training of people my age had another vision, often criticized as "ENCYCLOPEDIST". And it is absolutely true, perhaps it was excessively comprehensive. And we say "excessively", from the point of view of the difficulty that "THE ALL" represents. But that is "AGRONOMY", you have to study "the whole". Otherwise it is very reductionist.

Glyphosate, if it has any contraindications, compared to those that had 2.4 D, for example, "is chocolate milk." The problem is that we are bathing between 20 and 30 million hectares. every year, and that DOES not close me. It is also the set of agrochemicals (insecticides, fungicides, co-adjuvants and surfactants) all together almost all the time. This exclusive agriculture includes, "DEMAND", the use of the entire package.

And if the harmful thing is the combinations with insecticides or fungicides?

As we have already begun to talk in the C.A.D.I.A., before it is the laymen who interfere in something so delicate, the concern to promote studies must arise from us.

It would be very interesting if the medical colleges were also involved in this matter.

A statistical survey of the casuistry of cancer, abnormal births, diseases of the autoimmune complex, and allergies; It could be studied in the records of the clinics and hospitals in the core area between 1980 and 1990, and then weighted against the 1991 2010 series. This could be enriched with a correlation by type of place of settlement, work and age.

I think these would be really useful jobs. But since there are so many substances and agents to which society is subjected, it would not be entirely conclusive either, but at least we would clear up any doubts. It will therefore be time to send everything spilled, plus what we can get and add, to the different medical schools, and to the health authorities of the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and La Pampa. To promote a national meeting that allows us to outline a series of data collection and statistical treatment works.

In the meantime, this forum could be extended to the entire agrochemical complex of new agricultural techniques.

Personally, I believe that glyphosate is really only part of the issues and should be the subject of open, disinterested debate within professional entities and the productive community. This before making room for discussions where lay opinion makers intervene, who beyond their well-intentioned interest for the common good, only confuse public opinion, they do not solve anything, and only add tension and fear to society.


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