Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in French vineyards. At a time when French agriculture must find solutions to stop using this controversial chemical, a patented formula based on essential oils could help vintners achieve this goal.
Why are we talking about it?
Last January, a survey by the Campagne Glyphosate France association found that 99.8% of the French population was infected with glyphosate. Higher concentrations of this controversial herbicide were found in the urine of men, children and farmers. Launched by Monsanto in 1974, this chemical is better known to the general public under the brand name “Roundup” and is discussed in the scientific community. The World Health Organization, through the International Agency for Research on Cancer, recognizes it as a “probable carcinogen.” Indeed, researchers have linked the occurrence of lymphatic cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and exposure to glyphosate.
However, in 2015, the EFSA – the European Food Safety Authority, published a conclusive report “that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans”† The use of the herbicide will remain permitted within the European Union until December 15, including in vineyards. In a report published in 2017, INRAE stated that: “viticulture is a sector that uses a lot of glyphosate”† In fact, it is the most widely used herbicide, as it affects 75% of treated vineyards. It is estimated that the amount deposited at the base of the vines varies between 400 and 1,000 g per hectare. According to data from the National Institute of Agronomic Research, Languedoc-Roussillon was the most greedy vineyard in glyphosate five years ago, with 72,099 hectares treated. By comparison, only 4,154 hectares of Alsatian vines were sprayed with glyphosate.
Since October 2020, you should know that its use in the vineyards is prohibited if there are alternatives. In addition, winegrowers have the right to use a maximum of 450 g of product per hectare and per year.
The Solution: A Cocktail Of Essential Oils To Stop Using Glyphosate
In Belgium, Apeo (Agronomical Plant Extracts & Essential Oils), a company dependent on the Agro-Bio Tech University of Liège, raised six million euros in spring 2021 from public and private investors to launch a formula which could specify the release of glyphosate. This is a secret formula for destroying weeds, that is, the weeds, which the winegrowers have to pull from the base of the vines.
The winning cocktail, which is the result of different blends of essential oils, is also said to be effective during descaling: a crucial step for winegrowers, namely to strip a vine of twigs, branches that do not produce fruit. This encourages the ripening of the berries on the rest of the vine. According to the specialist media Vitisphere, the formula patented in 2019 should be on the market from 2026.
(ETX Daily Up)