A BAN on two common pesticides in Australia would increase cropping costs and decrease farm profit according to a study recently published in the journal Agricultural.
Written by The University Of Western Australia masters student Alison Walsh and co-authored by professor Ross Kingwell, the study explored the impact on farm business and farming systems if the use of glyphosate and paraquat were banned in the Central Wheatbelt region of WA.
Due to the growing public perception that they are a threat to human health, governments around the world have already banned these herbicides.
Using the bioeconomic farm model MIDAS, Ms Walsh estimated the likely impacts on farming systems if such a ban were to occur in Australia.
Ms Walsh found it would cause "sizeable declines in farm profit" due to increased cropping costs, and in turn increase grain prices.
"Despite several tactics and investments that farmers might employ to combat the loss of these herbicides, none would prevent a reduction in farm profit," Ms Walsh said.
"The likelihood of such large declines in profit should spur the invention and development of cost-effective means of weed control."
The study predicted that farming systems would move away from cropping towards sheep production - in turn increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
However, if there was a global ban on glyphosate and paraquat, then Australian farm businesses would be advantaged as they rely less on glyphosate-tolerant crops.
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