” Glyphosate is a cheap and easy tool for conservation ag, granted. But it is not the only one. Farmers in France, the US and elsewhere are experimenting with great success with front rollers (large, bladed cylinders mounted on the front of the tractor). These crush the cover crop, leaving a fresh mulch into which seeds planted using a normal direct seed planter attached to the tractors’ back. Fragile seeds benefit from the additional moisture that fresh mulch provides.
The total cost of that solution is lower than that of glyphosate, since no input is required and one run of the tractor is enough (glyphosate requires two, one for spraying and one for planting, thus more time and diesel is needed).
Of course, that deals with cover crops, not with deep-rooted weeds like thistles. But in conservation agriculture, dealing with cover crops is the main challenge. And for that, glyphosate is often not really needed “
said Patrick Worms,
on euractiv, 04/09/2017.