GREENSBORO, N.C. -- As people around the world recognize Earth Day, it's also a good time to recognize the vital role the herbicide atrazine plays in protecting the environment and promoting responsible land stewardship. Besides helping to effectively and affordably control a broad spectrum of weeds, atrazine is essential to conservation tillage and no-till systems in agriculture that can reduce soil erosion by up to 90 percent, when compared to intensive tillage.
When using atrazine products, farmers in the United States are turning more to conservation tillage and no-till systems. In 2008, atrazine was applied to more than 60 percent of conservation tillage and no-till corn acres.(1)
Atrazine-enabled no-till agriculture provides environmental benefits:
- Preventing soil erosion: No-till agriculture dramatically lessens the loss of soil and its nutrients, and prevents the kind of soil run-off that clogs streams and waterways.
- Preventing erosion protects aquatic ecosystems and preserves the quality of our nation's water.
- No-till agriculture reduces soil erosion by as much as 90 percent when compared to intensive tillage.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks sediment runoff as the number one pollutant in our nation's waterways.
- Conserving water: Because crop residue from previous harvests (stalks, husks, etc.) is left on the ground, and the soil is not plowed up, evaporation is limited and more water stays in the soil.
- Cutting fuel costs to famers: Less plowing means lower production costs and reduced emissions because of fewer equipment trips across the field.
- Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: the constant plowing up of agricultural land required by old-style agriculture to control weeds results in the massive release of CO2 into the atmosphere from decomposing organic matter in the soil. No-till keeps that CO2 trapped in the ground. Switching to no-till promotes the storage of about 600 pounds of carbon in an acre of soil each year.(2)
Because of its vital role in weed control and popularity in more than 60 countries around the world, atrazine has been carefully studied for years. World-renowned institutions including the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and Environmental Protection Agency all have studied atrazine and found no health concerns when used as directed.
"Atrazine continues to pass the most stringent regulatory standards for safety," said Chuck Foresman, technical brand manager for Syngenta. "In 2006, the EPA re-registered atrazine for crop protection use. And Syngenta works closely with growers in many watershed projects and in other stewardship programs to ensure that atrazine is used according to EPA guidelines and best management practices we've helped develop."
For more information, visit www.atrazine.com.