Importance of Atrazine

(Curtis) I’m Curtis Thompson. I am a Professor and Extension Weed Specialist here in the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University. And today we are talking about the importance of Atrazine and its use in our crop production aspects of weed management. We continue to see the herbicide Atrazine, as others, being targeted and consistently being reviewed. But I think I’m very confident in all of the research that has been done over the years and the very tough scrutiny that has gone on with each and every herbicide that we can feel very confident that we are doing all we can to keep our food grown in this country safe for the public. Atrazine at one point in time, was observed perhaps in some of our watersheds. Currently strategies have been implemented and just checking the watershed site at this point, all levels of Atrazine are in compliance with EPA and we currently don’t have any watersheds with the Atrazine restrictions. The concern that I have as a weed scientist and basically speaking for especially the corn and sorghum growers that utilize Atrazine, it is still a very key component in our weed management systems. Over the years we have developed Atrazine resistant replacements but to be honest with you, all of our Atrazine resistant placements work better or are basically synergized with the use of Atrazine. Now the overall pounds of Atrazine used in weed management has declined over the years. I think we’re using it more efficiently, but it’s still that essential component both with pre-emergents and post-emergents weed control applications in corn, and in grain sorghum. And so if the day were to come when Atrazine was removed from our weed management tool box, it would be very devastating and increase costs. And I at this point, couldn’t guarantee that we could do an adequate job of weed control without the use of Atrazine in these two crops. And if we continue to look at Atrazine and critically scrutinize it, if for some reason it was taken from us, they’ll only move on to another herbicide. And of course, the most probably commonly used herbicide in our systems beyond Atrazine would be glyphosate. And clearly we have also seen a tax on glyphosate. But again, I think we have research in place and can document its safe use and the fact that there is no risk in our crops and in the food that we’re producing based on Atrazine or glyphosate.

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