Economical Weed Control from Atrazine Boosts Ag Productivity

Yield Increases and Costs Savings from Products like Atrazine Help Growers Meet World Demand for Commodities

Online PR News – 24-August-2009 – – • Using atrazine provides an average 5.1 percent yield increase
• Atrazine saves corn growers up to $28 per acre
• Economic impact of atrazine in corn, sorghum and sugar cane could be more than $2 billion per year

There are many reasons atrazine has remained a weed control staple in agriculture for 50 years – it increases yield and saves money.

“Research has proven the positive effect atrazine has on farm production,” said Chuck Foresman, senior technical brand manager for Syngenta, the primary manufacturer of atrazine. “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.”

Atrazine is known for economical and effective weed control and the ability to enhance the performance of other products. For example, a study evaluating the impact of atrazine on corn yields showed that during the 20-year period from 1986 to 2005, the average corn yield was 5.1 percent higher with atrazine than without. In combined data from 236 university corn field trials during that period, atrazine treatments showed an average of 5.7 bushels more per acre than alternative herbicide treatments.

Similar research in sorghum trials in Kansas and Nebraska from 1986 to 1995 showed an 11.3 bushel per acre advantage in that crop. And, production experts estimate that the yield advantage in sugar cane ranges from 12 to 50 percent.

“Yield increases like that are necessary to produce more on limited farmland,” Foresman added. “At the same time, to be successful, growers need to manage their costs.”

The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that farming without atrazine could cost corn growers $28 per acre due to yield loss and the use of more expensive herbicides.

The EPA also said: “The total or national economic impact resulting from the loss of atrazine to control grass and broadleaf weeds in corn, sorghum and sugar cane would be in excess of $2 billion per year if atrazine were unavailable to growers.”

In addition, increased yield and production savings support the value crops add to local, state and national economy. For example, in 2008 the Illinois corn crop was worth $8 billion, Kansas sorghum was worth $690 million and Louisiana harvested more than 11 million tons of sugar cane.

“Yields and efficient production are the foundation of a multi-billion dollar industry that represents a significant piece of our economy,” said Foresman, “Atrazine is one — surprisingly significant — part of our efforts to boost ag productivity to feed and fuel the world.”

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