The tripling of glyphosate use in the Canadian prairies during the past decade has raised concerns over the possible accumulation of glyphosate and its main metabolite AMPA in soil over time and whether there could be any detrimental effects on crop production. A controlled environment study was conducted at two locations in Alberta, Canada, to determine glyphosate and AMPA soil concentrations that would injure wheat, field pea, and canola. Treatments included glyphosate acid or AMPA applied at 0, 10, 25, 100, 250, and 500 mg kg−1 soil. Shoot and root biomass determinations 8 wk after emergence (WAE) indicated that shoot and root biomass of all crops progressively declined with increasing soil concentrations of glyphosate at both locations. In contrast, AMPA reduced crop shoot and root biomass at only one of two sites. Estimated soil concentrations of glyphosate causing 20% reductions in shoot and root biomass ranged from 80 to 190, 90 to 350, and 120 to 320 mg kg−1 for field pea, canola, and wheat, respectively. Soil concentrations of AMPA causing 20% crop biomass reductions ranged from 40 to 70, 20 to 30, and 80 to 120 mg kg−1 for field pea, canola, and wheat, respectively. Although substantial crop injury occurred in this study, it must be noted that these rates are very high in terms of field application rates that would be required to achieve these soil concentrations. Doses causing crop injury would convert to estimated glyphosate field rates ranging from 17.6 to 77 kg ha−1. Overall results indicate that even with frequent high-dose glyphosate applications over several years, the likelihood of wheat, field pea, and canola injury from soil residues is low. Nevertheless, there may be merit in greater monitoring of glyphosate and AMPA soil residues in cropping systems with high glyphosate utilization over a long time period.
Nomenclature: AMPA, aminomethylphosphonic acid; glyphosate, N (phosphonomethyl)glycine; canola, Brassica napus L. ‘InVigor L150’; pea, Pisum sativum L. ‘AC Meadow'; wheat, Triticum aestivum L. ‘AC Lillian'.