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  1. ITV Report

Most common weedkiller used in gardens and on farms could soon be off shop shelves

More than 25,000 farmers attended Cereals 2016 Credit: ITV News Anglia

25,000 farmers from all over the world have been gathered in Cambridgeshire for the past two days for its annual Cereals show. A sort of Glastonbury for grain growers - it's a chance for manufacturers to showcase their very latest farming technology, but also a place for farmers to meet and talk about the issues they face.

Tractor display at Cereals 2016 Credit: ITV News Anglia

High on this year’s agenda were concerns not just over Britain’s future, but over the future of the farming community’s number one weedkiller - glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and one which many UK growers consider essential to their farming system.

Drones were among the latest farming technologies showcased at Cereals 2016 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Concern that glysophate could pose a health risk to humans has led to disagreement among EU countries over whether to extend its licence.

Some studies have claimed that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic”, but this is disputed.

Farmers say it enables them to keep their soil in good condition and produce a reliable crop and say a ban would put many of them out of business.

Since we switched to glyphosate we’ve reduced our carbon footprint and we've been able to get more efficient and produce at the lower commodity prices. If Glyphosate were to go we would see our costs ramp up seriously.

– ROBERT LAW, HOST FARMER, CEREALS 2016
Weedkillers containing glyphosate are commonly sold in the UK Credit: ITV News Anglia

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the most common garden weedkiller Roundup, among dozens of others.

Next week EU member states will again be asked to vote on an 18 month extension. If there is still no qualified majority, the Commission could either order a full removal of the licensing of glyphosate, which would see it taken off shop shelves, or issue a temporary re-licensing of the weedkiller.

A third option would be to allow the registration of glyphosate, which expires at the end of June, to run down.