There is a reason that atrazine is one of the leading herbicides; unlike many other herbicides, atrazine has a wide spectrum of uses, applications, and utility.
Farmers use atrazine to control weeds on well over half of the country’s corn acreage, about two-thirds of sorghum acreage and 90 percent of its sugar cane. In 2008, atrazine was used on nearly 70 percent of Illinois corn acreage, making it the second the most popular herbicide for the state’s corn farmers.
Farmers value atrazine for its effective use against some of the toughest weeds in corn — like lambsquarters, morningglory, nightshade, pigweed, cocklebur, velvetleaf and foxtails – that make it the most popular herbicide in pre-mix combination products.
Protecting Corn Yield
Farmers simply can’t meet the increasing demand for corn without controlling the grass and broadleaf weeds that compete with crops for moisture, sunlight and nutrients. Research has proven the positive effect atrazine has on farm production:
- In combined data from 236 university corn field trials from 1986-2005, atrazine treatments showed an average of 5.7 bushels more per acre than alternative herbicide treatments. (Fawcett, Twenty Years of University Corn Yield Data: With and Without Atrazine, Proceedings North Central Weed Science Society, 2008.)
- Similar research in sorghum trials in Kansas and Nebraska from 1986-1995 showed an 11.3 bushel/acre advantage in that crop.
- Production experts estimate yield advantage in sugar cane ranges from 12 to 50 percent.
Among dozens of herbicides evaluated by scientists, atrazine is the only product which provides all of the following key agronomic features:
- Effective, broad spectrum weed control leads to high crop yields.
- Low treatment cost.
- Application flexibility: atrazine can be applied prior to, during or after planting the crop, or after crop emergence, so it fits a wide variety of cropping systems.
- Fits soil-saving conservation tillage systems.
- Low risk of crop injury.
- Important in management of weed resistance.
- Low potential for drift.
Atrazine is a popular weed control tool because it is economical to use, extremely effective against a spectrum of weeds, and very safe to the crop. Research has documented the benefits of atrazine to the bottom line for growers:
- Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that farming without atrazine would cost corn growers $28 per acre in lost yield and/or increased weed control costs. The agency estimates the total negative impact on corn, sorghum and sugar cane growers in the U.S. would exceed $2 billion if atrazine were not available.
- Of 13 weed control programs rated for net return in a 1997 University of Illinois study, the top three all contained atrazine.
- Using farm machinery to cultivate weeds from fields adds to farmers’ labor, fuel and equipment costs and increases the potential for soil erosion. Atrazine is a popular choice for no-till farming methods that have both economic and environmental benefits.
For the latest information on atrazine uses visit Atrazine.com.