A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency was highly critical of the herbicide atrazine, which helps reduce soil erosion and runoff problems, keeping soil healthy and water clean. EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment as part of the re-registration process for atrazine; and, if its recommendations stand, farmers will basically lose the use of the herbicide. Tillage is an effective way to control weeds, but disturbing that top layer of soil leads to a loss of 90 percent of crop residue from the soil. Tillage damages the soil and leaves it more vulnerable to erosion from wind and water, which in turn leads to more runoff of fertilizer and pesticides. Atrazine was one of the first products to be used on a widespread basis because it is a broad spectrum product. It reduced the number of times farmers had to drive over their soil, and that decreased erosion and runoff problems.
Iowa State University Professor of Weed Science Bob Hartzler said farmers have made significant progress adopting reduced-till and no-till methods of growing a crop and that atrazine plays a key role in making these practices more sustainable. The National Corn Growers wants farmers to comment on the EPA’s proposal at www.NCGA.Com/atz.
Source: NAFB News Service