Roundup not used here like in the US – plant scientist

Rural Exchange 25/08/2018

A plant scientist wants to reassure New Zealand that Roundup is not used in the same way that American farms use the weedkiller.

The controversial herbicide caused global scepticism around its health ramifications after a US jury found it had contributed to a man’s terminal cancer.

Agri-chemicals company Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, were ordered to pay the man NZ$439 million.

Lincoln University’s Derrick Moot told RadioLIVE that Kiwi farmers predominantly use Roundup for broad-spectrum weed control in pasture management.

"We don't use it a lot, if at all, for a desiccant, and we certainly don't have the Roundup Ready crops that people are talking about."

Roundup Ready crops are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide. The chemical can be sprayed around the crop to destroy weeds and unwanted foliage without killing the plant.

Lobby group GE Free NZ has called for re-evaluating all glyphosate-based herbicides in the country, remarking that the US ruling "brought out the dark underbelly of Monsanto".

“New Zealand must find alternative non-pesticide solutions to farming issues,” said GE Free’s Claire Bleakley in a statement.

But Prof Moot is adamate that the pesticides used in NZ cannot be compared to that of the US.

"A lot of the US crops are now Roundup Ready, but we are certainly not allowed to grow those crops in New Zealand," he said.

He says he can't see laws changing to allow that growth in New Zealand any time soon.

"New Zealand's stance at the moment is that we're GE [genetically engineered] free in terms of the crops that we sow in the ground."

Watch the full interview with Derrick Moot above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.