Interactions of glyphosate use with farm characteristics and cropping patterns in Central Europe

Pest Manag Sci. 2018 May;74(5):1155-1165. doi: 10.1002/ps.4542. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Background: Although glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the European Union, little is known about the patterns of its usage in arable farming. Therefore, a nationwide survey of 2026 German farmers was analysed to obtain further knowledge about glyphosate applications in conventional European arable farming. Given its broad range of agri-environmental and farm-type conditions, Germany can be regarded as a suitable study region to represent Central European farming. The growing season 2013/2014 was set as a reference.

Results: Farmers who participated in the survey employ diverse patterns of glyphosate use. While 23% stated that they did not use glyphosate in the season in question, others applied glyphosate to their total arable area. However, most applications occurred on specific parts of the farm. Application patterns of oilseed rape, winter wheat, maize and sugar beet were studied in detail, and U-shaped distributions of glyphosate use intensity were observed. The effects of farm type and management practices on glyphosate use patterns were mixed in the various crops.

Conclusion: Motivation for glyphosate use differs widely within the farming community. Agricultural researchers, extension services and policy makers are recommended to mitigate vulnerabilities associated with glyphosate use, such as routine spraying and practices that increase selection pressure for the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: farm survey; glyphosate; inflated beta regression; post-harvest application; presowing application; soil cultivation; weed management.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Crops, Agricultural / growth & development*
  • Farmers / psychology*
  • Germany
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / pharmacology
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicide Resistance
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*


  • Herbicides
  • Glycine