What’s the value of atrazine?

Published on: 14:11PM Jul 27, 2010
Chuck Foresman
As planters and sprayers rolled across the Corn Belt this season, we asked a few growers and retailers about the value atrazine brings to their operation. They found it easier to explain how not having atrazine would affect them.
Here are some of their thoughts:
  • Alternative herbicides to replace atrazine would increase weed control costs 2 to 3 times what growers currently spend.
  • One key benefit of atrazine is the synergy it creates with other herbicides – it helps them work more effectively. Without atrazine in the tank, higher rates of other herbicides would be needed to get the same results.
  • More weeds tend to escape non-atrazine programs, causing corn yield loss.
  • Additional passes may be required for effective weed control, which costs time and fuel, and adds to soil compaction.
  • Additional tillage may be required in some areas to manage weeds, causing more soil erosion and using more fuel.
  • Atrazine provides another mode of action to help fight weed resistance – especially resistance to glyphosate. And, with less residual weed control, we will likely see faster weed species shifts in fields.
  • With the loss of application flexibility that comes with atrazine, herbicide crop injury would become a bigger concern.
  • Without quality weed control, more production acres would be required to produce the corn needed to meet world demand. That could mean putting more marginal acres into production.
What value does atrazine bring to your operation? How would not having atrazine affect your farm?