Glyphosate use in the European agricultural sector and a framework for its further monitoring
Monitoring pesticide use is essential for assessing farming practices and the risks associated with the use of pesticides. Currently, there are neither consolidated, public data available on glyphosate use in Europe, nor a standardized categorization of its major uses. In this study, data on glyphosate sales and use in Europe were collected from multiple sources and compiled into a dataset of the agricultural use of glyphosate from 2013 to 2017. The survey shows that glyphosate represented 33% of the herbicide volume sold in Europe in 2017. One third of the acreage of annual cropping systems and half of the acreage of perennial tree crops received glyphosate annually. Glyphosate is widely used for at least eight agronomic purposes, including weed control, crop desiccation, terminating cover crops, terminating temporary grassland and renewing permanent grassland. Glyphosate use can be classified into occasional uses-i.e., exceptional applications, triggered by meteorological conditions or specific farm constraints-and recurrent uses, which are widespread practices that are embedded in farming systems and for which other agronomic solutions may exist but are not frequently used. This article proposes a framework for the precise monitoring of glyphosate use, based on the identification of the cropping systems in which glyphosate is used, the agronomic purposes for which it is employed, the dose used and the rationale behind the different uses.