WEEDING IT OUT: Should glyphosate still be part of sustainable farming?
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The controversial weedkiller glyphosate is being sprayed by farmers as part of a scheme that aims to establish more environmentally friendly grazing areas.

The use of the chemical, which studies have shown can negatively impact bees and the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, is not only allowed but is encouraged in order to kill off existing grass so that the new ‘multispecies swards’ can flourish.

By examining this and other farming initiatives, our investigative team will uncover the conflict between use of such chemicals in schemes whose aims are to improve biodiversity.


In order to reduce the reliance on fertiliser and “promote a more sustainable method of farming”, the government introduced an incentive scheme for farmers who could receive €300 per hectare to plant multispecies swards.

The resulting more diverse grassland leads to better soil health, requires less fertiliser, results in fewer emissions and is “excellent” for pollinators, according to Teagasc.

However, the use of glyphosate has some experts worried. The National Biodiversity Data Centre told Noteworthy that they “couldn’t advocate glyphosate”, stressing that it kills plants that are food to pollinators and may harm wild bee populations.

Our team will speak to experts and farmers to find out why glyphosate is being used in schemes designed to improve biodiversity and whether alternatives have been made available.

We will also examine the terms of such schemes and whether consideration has been given to the potential negative effects of glyphosate using press and Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) requests.

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You can contact us at information@noteworthy.ie and find out how we work here. Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

4 Backers raised €150 of €1640
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