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The Heads Up On Roundup

A press release from Bayer recently stated that glyphosate will soon be removed from the residential lawn and garden market. This news, coupled with the fact that glyphosate supplies are currently low and difficult to obtain, has managers across the country expressing concern that several glyphosate registrations may soon be fully retracted. But before we jump to that conclusion, let’s discuss what this press release said and what that means for the future of glyphosate and get the heads up on roundup.

Is glyphosate being banned?

Any customer that frequents “big box” stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are quickly greeted by an entire wall of Roundup brand products. There are small bottles of concentrate, large bottles of pre-diluted “ready to use” options, and everything in between. Because of the success of this herbicide, nearly every homeowner has heard of Roundup and most have used it at some point. Additionally, thousands of individuals, many of them homeowners, have joined a class-action lawsuit against Bayer (the manufacturer of glyphosate) due to claims of potential health effects from this herbicide. As part of their strategy to settle the lawsuits, Bayer has chosen to no longer sell glyphosate-based products within the homeowner market.

Now let’s discuss what this means. First, the “Roundup” line of products will still be found on shelves at big box stores – but it will no longer contain glyphosate. In fact there were already products by the name Roundup that had no glyphosate (Not All Glyphosate is Roundup). There will likely be a blend of other herbicides, so make sure you read the label closely and understand how the product should be used, as always. Second, lawn and garden use patterns will remain on glyphosate labels. These products will be sold through professional retailers so that lawn care companies and services can continue to use glyphosate. Lastly, homeowners can still purchase glyphosate from these professional retailers and use the product as labeled.

Glyphosate no longer has patent protection and many companies now manufacturer the molecule. Although Bayer is no longer selling glyphosate through large retailers, other companies may continue to use glyphosate in their products. It will not be called “Roundup,” but glyphosate will likely be obtainable at common retailers. Remember knowing the difference between brand name and active ingredient it important (Pesticide Label…What Is It?)

 

Why is glyphosate supply low?

Many professionals have expressed concerns that glyphosate has become difficult to purchase because non-agriculture uses are being scaled back. From what we currently know, this fear is unfounded. Glyphosate availability is low because of increased national demand and COVID-19 related manufacturing delays. Short supplies of glyphosate in the month of August are relatively common. Therefore, there is no reason to stock up or panic buy glyphosate. In a few short weeks, the supplies should be back to normal.

To summarize, Bayer is no longer going to sell glyphosate for the home lawn market at big box stores. Those Roundup jugs won’t have glyphosate, but other products in them. Yes, glyphosate will still be sold to professionals and in other brands of products. Yes, glyphosate has been harder to find because of supply glitches and from people “stocking up” on glyphosate. Changes have come to the lawn pest control market for sure, but nothing too dramatic and nothing that can’t be adapted to.

Author Dr. Jason Ferrell is a Professor at the University of Florida. He serves as Director for the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants and the Pesticide Information Office.

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Blog

 

 

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