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

HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Winter Wheat
HerbicidesNew Wheat Herbicide Helps Growers Manage Resistant Weeds
August 2, 2016
Quelex herbicide from Dow AgroSciences is now registered by the U.S. EPA, providing wheat growers a new solution for advanced Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact On Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
Trending Articles
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Latest News
Patriot 25th anniversary
SprayersCase IH Celebrates 25 Years Of Patriot Sprayers At Bens…
October 24, 2016
Case IH executives, employees and special guests celebrated 25 years of production of Case IH Patriot sprayers in a special Read More
4r Nutrient stewardship
StewardshipNominations For The 4R Advocate Program Due October 31
October 24, 2016
Nominations for the 4R Advocate program are due to The Fertilizer Institute by October 31, 2016. The program recognizes agricultural Read More
Corn close up
Eric SfiligojProtecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World
October 24, 2016
The rate of change coming to agriculture is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This Read More
Student Young Worker CHS
CropLife 100CHS Supports #FirstJob Compact
October 24, 2016
CHS joins the White House and many of the country’s largest employers in signing a new initiative centered on helping Read More
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More