Study: Atrazine Aids Environment

University of Wisconsin-Madison economist Paul D. Mitchell, Ph.D., found the use of atrazine helps farmers reduce aggregate soil erosion by up to 85 million tons per year — enough to fill more than 3 million dump trucks.

Mitchell will present the findings of his paper, “Estimating soil erosion and fuel use changes and their monetary values with AGSIM: A case study for triazine herbicides,” Jan. 10 at the Wisconsin Crop Management Conference in Madison, WI.

The study’s other key findings include:

  • Atrazine and sister triazine herbicides, simazine and propazine, benefit U.S. society by up to $350 million in soil erosion costs per year.
  • By encouraging conservation tillage and no-till farming, atrazine and the other triazines reduce soil erosion, decrease fuel use and improve water quality.
  • Increased farmer adoption of conservation tillage and related practices, made possible in part by popular herbicides such as atrazine, led to a 43-percent decrease in soil erosion from U.S. farmland over the past three decades.
  • Because atrazine increases corn and sorghum yields, farmers use less land for crops. This allows as many as 875,000 acres to remain in the Conservation Reserve Program, where it generates environmental benefits for everyone, including wildlife habitat and reduced soil erosion.
  • Mitchell also will discuss a second paper he authored, “Economic assessment of the benefits of chloro-s-triazine herbicides to U.S. corn, sorghum, and sugar cane producers.” This study demonstrates that atrazine and chloro-s-triazines simazine and propazine benefit U.S. corn, sorghum and sugar cane farmers up to $3.3 billion in value annually.

“We are just beginning to understand the full environmental economic impact atrazine has on the agriculture industry and global food markets in this new agricultural economy,” said Mitchell. “Atrazine effectively controls weeds and significantly increases corn, sorghum, and sugar cane yields. But it also supports conservation tillage and no-till farming, which are critical to protecting the environment and providing food and clean water to our world’s population.”

Findings from the two studies show atrazine and its sister triazines generate a $4.4 billion consumer surplus annually. Combining the consumer surplus estimates with the soil erosion benefits, atrazine’s value to the U.S. economy totals up to $4.8 billion, with most of these benefits going directly to consumers.

Mitchell, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, grew up on his family’s farm in Iowa and received his doctorate from Iowa State University. Before joining University of Wisconsin-Madison, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. His current research and outreach programs focus on the farm-level economics of crop production, emphasizing pest management, risk management and specialty crop economics.

Syngenta, the principal registrant for atrazine, provided resources and support for Mitchell’s research. His papers are part of a broad assessment by Syngenta to examine the value of atrazine in today’s agricultural economy. Other papers include:

  • “A biological analysis of the use and benefits of chloro-s-triazine herbicides in U.S. corn and sorghum production,” David C. Bridges, Ph.D.
  • “The importance of atrazine in the integrated management of herbicide-resistance weeds,” Micheal D. K. Owen, Ph.D.
  • “Efficacy of best management practices for reducing runoff of chloro-s-triazine herbicides to surface water: A review,” Richard S. Fawcett, Ph.D.
Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

3 comments on “Study: Atrazine Aids Environment

  1. "Syngenta, the principal registrant for atrazine, provided resources and support for Mitchell's research. His papers are part of a broad assessment by Syngenta to examine the value of atrazine in today's agricultural economy." Surprise! Surprise! The manufacturer of the herbicide is funding the research. Now that is hilarious! And these people want us to take them seriously!

  2. Analysis of Pesticide Data for Oregon A 2009 Department of Environmental Quality LASAR database query returned over 120,000 records for the 187 pesticides evaluated in this analysis. Pesticides have been detected in ~4,300 samples. DHS’ SDWIS database records show that pesticides were detected 67 times at 30 public water systems. Sample dates for the LASAR/SDWIS detections were from 1982 to 2009. It is important to note that the detection limits were fairly high in many sample results, especially in sampling prior to 2007. The most commonly detected pesticides were Dacthal, Simazine, ATRAZINE, Chlorpyrifos, Atrazine-desethyl, Diuron, Guthion (axinphosmehtyl), and Metolachlor. Pesticides were detected at a total of 466 sampling locations (325 groundwater locations and 141 surface water locations). The data demonstrates that the sampling locations have focused in areas of known problems, and many waters of the state have not been tested.

Herbicides Stories

Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Approval in Field & Seed Corn
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
Palmer amaranth
Crop InputsDow: Modes of Action, Multi-Year Plans Limit Weed Issues
May 2, 2017
Controlling weeds is becoming increasingly difficult. Success requires a multi-pronged strategy that keeps weeds at bay during the growing season Read More
Case Patriot Sprayer closeup
Equipment2017: Drift Control’s Most Important Year, So Far
May 1, 2017
This upcoming growing season promises to be slightly different than any that have come before it. In 2017, USDA estimates Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Bu…
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsFortenza Insecticide Seed Treatment Receives EPA Regist…
May 25, 2017
Fortenza seed treatment insecticide from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. EPA for use on corn and cotton Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More T…
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More