Recent statements from scientific organisations and court decisions have resulted in widespread public interest and concern over the safety of glyphosate, the most popular and effective herbicide used worldwide. Consequently, glyphosate-based products are under intense scrutiny from governments at all levels. Some jurisdictions have already banned or restricted its use, which will adversely impact international trade in bulk grain commmodities if glyphosate residues are detected. The possibility of farming without glyphosate is becoming an important issue facing the agri-food research and development sector. Contingency plans need to be formulated if that scenario becomes a reality. In this review, we briefly summarize international events that have led to this possible situation, describe current glyphosate usage in major agronomic field crops worldwide, outline possible alternatives to glyphosate in two agroregions and perform bioeconomic model scenarios of southern Australian broadacre cropping systems without the herbicide. Model predictions suggest that we can farm profitably without glyphosate by consistently utilizing key non-herbicidal weed management practices combined with robust pre-emergence soil residual herbicide treatments. However, maintaining low weed seed banks will be challenging. If the social license to use glyphosate is revoked, what other pesticides will soon follow?
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