When farmers use atrazine, we grow more corn or sorghum or sugarcane (or other crop) per acre of land, while using fewer additional herbicides and pesticides. As a result, farmers are growing more crops on less land with fewer inputs.
The United Nations has said that world food production must more than double by 2050 in order to meet the demands of a growing global population, so being able to grow more with less is critical.
More and more farmers are using conservation tillage or no-till farming practices that leave crop residue, like cornstalks after harvest, in the field instead of plowed into the soil. This requires fewer trips of the tractor over the land, using less gasoline and letting fewer emissions into the air.
But the biggest benefit of no-till farming is that it cuts down on erosion and keeps pesticides and fertilizer on the field, instead of in waterways. In fact, reduced tillage and other practices have reduced soil erosion 43 percent in the last 20 years. Many farmers tell us without atrazine’s weed control, they would have to return to conventional tillage methods.