Farmers continue to stand up for science-based decisions for atrazine and the triazine herbicides.
In 2016 and 2018, farmer and agriculture groups have responded to our calls to action by submitting comments to EPA on two key risk assessments: the Draft Ecological Risk Assessment on Atrazine in 2016 and the Draft Human Health Risk Assessment in 2018. The regulators at EPA want to hear from farmers on these issues. They want to know how you use atrazine, and why it is important to you.
Atrazine is widely used in corn, sorghum, sugarcane and other crops. Why?
- Application flexibility
- Compatibility and ease tank-mixing with other herbicides
- Lack of phytotoxicity on target crops
- Reliable effectiveness on problematic weeds such as
- Common/Tall Waterhemp
- Giant Ragweed
- No-Till Farming Practices
- Atrazine has enabled successful no-till operations which have significantly reduced soil erosion and sediment in waterways across the Corn Belt. If corn, sorghum and sugarcane growers were to lose triazines, weed management programs would become much more expensive on a per acre basis, and there would be increased use of higher rates of the other herbicides that would still be available.
- Without Atrazine and other triazine herbicides
- Corn: The loss of triazines (primarily atrazine) would cost corn growers $3.2 to $4.4 billion annually due to lower corn yields. This represents a loss an average of 15.5 bushels per acre. The impact on average farmer net returns is significant, around $35 to $50 per acre of corn.
- Sorghum: With the loss triazines (primarily atrazine), growers of sorghum would lose over 14 bushels per acre on acres currently treated with triazines. The loss of the triazines would cost growers more than $320 million, primarily through yield loss. The removal of the triazines in sorghum would amount to approximately $40 per planted acre loss in benefits for sorghum farmers.
- Other Crops: In sugarcane, atrazine is widely used; approximately 66% of Florida sugarcane receives atrazine to control especially problematic weeds such as common lambsquarter. Atrazine is often considered the backbone of sugarcane weed management programs for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that it is affordable, and is effective especially when used as a tank-mix partner with several other herbicides, an effect that allows use of less overall herbicide. In citrus, simazine is important for weed control in many groves. Simazine provides a unique combination of proven tree safety, efficacy against problem weeds such as vines and large seeded broadleaf weeds, and favorable economics. Ease of use and grower familiarity add to its utility in citrus. Simazine use in apple, caneberry, grapefruit, grape, hazelnut, orange, peach, pear, and walnut crops is estimated at over 360,000 acres in the U.S.