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Social costs and externalities associated with herbicide resistance have not generally been considered by economists. The economics of managing herbicide resistance in weeds has focused on cost-effective responses by growers to the development of resistance at the individual farm and field level. In this paper we argue that the increasing possibility of widespread glyphosate resistance presents a case where social costs associated with glyphosate resistance need to be considered when assessing optimal use of this herbicide resource at the farm level. Social costs associated with the loss of glyphosate efficacy include potential failure of herbicide-resistant crop systems, reduced use of conservation tillage techniques, and a potential greater reliance on herbicides with greater health and environmental risks.


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