Time for France to ban 100% désherbage in vineyards


A near lifeless vineyard in Touraine


Tell-tale signs of erosion on a very slight slope


The sole sign of life…..

The coronavirus crisis ought to be an opportunity to reassess. Regarding viticulture it is surely time to ban the indiscriminate use of weedkiller in vineyards. Completely blitzing a vineyard ought to be now completely unacceptable.

The horrible, shocking and sad photos above of a vineyard in appellation Touraine show a ground that is probably more dead than the Sahara Desert. No biodiversity – no balance.

We should be moving towards biodiversity in and around vineyards as Saumur-Champigny, for example, has recognised for a good number of years. Working towards a time in the near future when the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides are banned in viticulture. Since 1st January 2019 the sale of these products have been banned in France to individuals.

‘Depuis le 1er janvier 2019, les particuliers et les jardiniers amateurs ne peuvent plus acheter et donc utiliser dans leur jardins des produits à base de pesticides de synthèse, comme le glyphosate. »
Read the rest here.

It was good to see Moët-Hennessy announce in mid-February 2020 that they were discontinuing the use of herbicides in the vineyards in Champagne by the end of this year and by the end of next year in their Cognac vineyards.

Of course the owner of the sad vineyard above can fairly object that Moët-Hennessy can well afford to ban herbicides given the price of their Champagne and Cognac. A marginal vineyard in Touraine may only be surviving through blitzing all other plant life in its vineyards. However, I think the time has come to insist that if a vineyard cannot function sustainably, then it is time to stop.  


Ready for corn?

Is blitzing a field before sowing
the next crop anymore sensible and safe?

The above photo shows a field that has been sprayed with weedkiller in preparation for sowing this year’s arable crop. Soon the field will be ploughed  harrowed and sown – may well be with wheat or barley. The weed killered grass and any residues buried into the soil. If wheat is planted it could be used to make flour for bread etc., if barley also bread, beer, medicines etc. A process that continues year after year…..   How can this be good practice? 

Update: 21st April 2020 15.25

Tilled fields

Same field ready for the new crop with the dead grass
and any weedkiller residues buried in the soil. 

Is it too far fetched to wonder if some of those who have died from Coronavirus died because their immune system had been weakened by pesticide/ weed killer residues in their bodies? Given that there may a correlation between high air pollution and coronavirus deaths my question may not be entirely far fetched.

Air pollution may be ‘key contributor’ to Covid-19 deaths – study

Research shows almost 80% of deaths across four countries were in most polluted regions


J                              i                                     

EU Flag

5 réflexions sur “Time for France to ban 100% désherbage in vineyards

  1. Bertrand Bespoke

    who signed this article ?
    playing the devil advocate , you need to have a wider view than just the herbicide problem .
    This is why practice like biodynamic or permaculture or similar are interesting , taking the whole ecosystem in consideration . Also the field you show at the end could be in preparation for direct sowing with no tillage .


    1. Jim Budd

      Bertrand. Thank you.

      I wrote the article. It is signed with the EU flag which I have been using since the UK was dragged out of the EU earlier this year and Tuesday is my post day as it has been since this blog started. As a regular at Millésime Bio I think I do have a wider view. However, I wanted to zero in on the practice of 100% blitzing a vineyard with weedkiller which is still too prevalent in appellation Touraine, for example.

      The field shown in the photo has now been tilled and has either been sown or very soon will be. I will be adding a photo later today. However, my point remains relevant whether it has been direct sown or not – a new crop of being planted in a field that has had weedkiller applied.


  2. David Cobbold

    Quite right Jim. Weedkiller will go into the ground anyway if the filed has been sprayed with it. Sowing on top of that will not change much at all if compared to plowing over

    Aimé par 1 personne

  3. Jim Budd

    Thanks David. You will see from the photo that I have just posted that the field has now been harrowed ready for sowing with the grass and any residues buried in the ground.


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