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Pest Manag Sci. 2008 Apr;64(4):422-7. doi: 10.1002/ps.1560.

Glyphosate sustainability in South American cropping systems.

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University of Sao Paulo, ESALQ/USP/LPV, C.Postal 09, 13418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.


South America represents about 12% of the global land area, and Brazil roughly corresponds to 47% of that. The major sustainable agricultural system in South America is based on a no-tillage cropping system, which is a worldwide adopted agricultural conservation system. Societal benefits of conservation systems in agriculture include greater use of conservation tillage, which reduces soil erosion and associated loading of pesticides, nutrients and sediments into the environment. However, overreliance on glyphosate and simpler cropping systems has resulted in the selection of tolerant weed species through weed shifts (WSs) and evolution of herbicide-resistant weed (HRW) biotypes to glyphosate. It is a challenge in South America to design herbicide- and non-herbicide-based strategies that effectively delay and/or manage evolution of HRWs and WSs to weeds tolerant to glyphosate in cropping systems based on recurrent glyphosate application, such as those used with glyphosate-resistant soybeans. The objectives of this paper are (i) to provide an overview of some factors that influence WSs and HRWs to glyphosate in South America, especially in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay soybean cropped areas; (ii) to discuss the viability of using crop rotation and/or cover crops that might be integrated with forage crops in an economically and environmentally sustainable system; and (iii) to summarize the results of a survey of the perceptions of Brazilian farmers to problems with WSs and HRWs to glyphosate, and the level of adoption of good agricultural practices in order to prevent or manage it.

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