Comparing glyphosate to life-changing developments like penicillin, Stephen B. Powles of the W.A. Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, advocates diversity in crop protection systems.

“Does it matter if glyphosate becomes useless? Are there good replacements?” he asks. Calling the product a 100-year herbicide, he says we, in our lifetimes, won't see anything as good.

“If we want the chemical to work now and for the next generation, then respect it now as a precious resource and use it prudently so that it will be an option for future health and harvests,” Powles says.

He predicts that if current herbicide use trends continue, the U.S. will become No. 1 in herbicide resistance by 2008.