Complete Weed Control’s glyphosate roadshow has been hailed as a success after the seminars provided vital guidance on the application of glyphosate to over 150 delegates throughout four UK locations.
CWC say glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide and has been proven to be effective in controlling unwanted vegetation in public spaces, gardens and in agriculture. However, over recent years it has been exposed to an abundance of scrutiny and debate which has left more unanswered questions and created further confusion.
In this series of seminars, which took place in York, Bristol, London and Stirling, Complete Weed Control aimed to provide a greater clarity on glyphosate, as managing director Ian Graham explained in his introduction at each venue.
“As an organisation we felt it was time to put together a series of seminars to deal with the issues surrounding glyphosate and its use in the amenity sector. There has been a considerable and sustained volume bad press and a much negativity surrounding this product - so we felt it was essential that we explore the reality and present the data that exists from numerous agencies around the world that have all declared this product to be safe.
“As contractors we are very happy that our using it is entirely appropriate as it delivers a safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective means of dealing with weeds.”
Following Ian’s introduction, Bayer’s Roundup technical development manager Barrie Hunt shared his wealth of knowledge and offered an insight into the history and development of glyphosate. Barrie also discussed how and why glyphosate was re-approved for use in the EU back in 2017 and provided best practice information to help delegates plan ahead for their 2019 weed control programmes.
Commenting on his participation in the roadshow, Barrie said: “I got involved because I believe the stewardship of glyphosate and our Roundup brand is incredibly important - it is not something that can be left to chance.
“These seminars have been a great opportunity to engage with so many local authorities and contractors and to present the facts about glyphosate, present the science about glyphosate, and to address everybody’s questions which have ranged from glyphosate safety through to the specifics of controlling Japanese Knotweed.
“Without doubt this amenity usage is the place where pesticides meet the public so we have a responsibility to ensure that they have a good clear stewardship message and that they understand the safety of glyphosate.”
Delegates also got the chance to see a live demonstration of the Weed-IT machine and discovered the environmental and productivity benefits that this technology offers the industry. Developed specifically for the control of weeds on public footpaths and similar hard surface areas in urban situations, the WeedIT technology allows for spot treatment, which is a label requirement for glyphosate.
Complete Weed Control’s technical director Alan Abel then went on to further discuss spot treatment options and provide greater clarity on glyphosate label legislation. Alan also talked about the relative costs of alternative treatments such as acid, heat and hand weeding, concluding that the WeedIT machine is both financially and environmentally economical.
To conclude Ian Graham presented information regarding the ongoing Japanese Knotweed trials currently taking place in Cardiff in partnership with Swansea University - which have demonstrated that glyphosate is the product that best controls Japanese Knotweed making it more important still that this valuable active ingredient is not lost through lack of knowledge and understanding.
Each seminar concluded with a Q&A session before lunch, and Ian Graham was pleased to see each event so well attended.
“Over the four venues we have seen in excess of 150 delegates, which we consider to be a success. These delegates are keen to learn the truth about glyphosate - they are the ones dealing with the public and are being asked the difficult questions. They want to make sure they have the answers at their disposal for when they are asked and I think these seminars have provided them with the knowledge they need.
“As an industry, I think it is very important that we collectively put our weight behind supporting glyphosate. It is important to us and it is important to be able to deal with weeds effectively and in an environmentally sound fashion.
“We are looking to reach out and gain more support from other organisations within our industry and hopefully that will continue to have positive results in representing the product.
"As a consequence of the shows we are now developing an online product that will be launched in January that will serve as an information resource for clients and the public alike.”