The Glyphosate herbicide is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops grown on a large scale. By volume, it’s one of the most widely used herbicides. Its uses include agriculture, horticulture, silviculture purposes as well as for home garden maintenance.
Glyphosate herbicide is available in this variety of formulations for different uses:
• Ammonium salt
• Glyphosate acid — standalone, as ammonium salt or as isopropyl salt
• Potassium salt
• Isopropyl amine salt
Some crops have been genetically engineered to be resistant to it allowing farmers to use Glyphosate herbicide as a post-emergence herbicide against both broadleaf and cereal weeds. These crops are referred to as “Roundup Ready”. Soy was the first of these shortly followed by corn, sorghum, canola, alfalfa, and cotton, with wheat still under development. These cultivars greatly improved conventional farmers’ ability to control weeds, since glyphosate could be sprayed on fields without damaging the crop.
Glyphosate is rated least dangerous in comparison to other herbicides and pesticides. It does not bioaccumulate, and breaks down rapidly in the environment. The EPA considers glyphosate to be relatively low in toxicity, and without carcinogenic effects. It’s effect on the life of soil may be limited, because when glyphosate comes into contact with the soil, it rapidly is inactivated when it binds to soil particles.