A new survey has revealed 54 per cent of British farmers believe a glyphosate ban would cost them more than £10,000 every year.
This means the average wheat farmer would be losing out on almost a third of their annual income of £38,000, and one in five wheat farms could be pushed into serious financial difficulties.
250 farmers took part in the survey at the Cereals Event in June.
Other research from Oxford Economics and the Andersons Centre, in partnership with the Crop Protection Association, found a ban would reduce tax revenues from farming and its supply chain by £193 million – equivalent to the annual salaries of more than 7,000 nurses.
George Hosier, a mixed farmer from Wiltshire, believes losing glyphosate could cost him up to £100,000. He said: “Over the past four years, my son and I have made great progress in reducing the farm’s carbon footprint through a move to zero tillage.
“This means we do not plough or cultivate our soils, which reduces our diesel usage and, by association, CO2 emissions.
“A glyphosate ban would not only drastically increase emissions, but also lead to a reduction in our crop production because other methods for controlling weeds would need to be introduced.”
NFU vice president Guy Smith told Farmers Guardian the uncertain future of diquat was intensifying farmers’ concerns about a glyphosate ban.
“There is a good chance we might lose diquat”, he said.
“We have already lost it for some applications such as cereals, and if we lost it for oilseed rape, which is a possibility, then obviously the loss of glyphosate is even more serious.
“Most of us are aware it would add significant costs.”
Glyphosate’s re-authorisation is set to be discussed by the EU again on July 19 2017.