Study: Atrazine Boosts U.S. Corn Yields Substantially

A recent study by David C. Bridges, Ph.D., agronomist and president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA, shows atrazine increases U.S. corn crop yields by about 7 bushels per acre, or more than 600 million bushels per year. In sorghum crops, yields rise by more than 13 bushels per acre with atrazine.

Bridges will present the findings from his paper, “A biological analysis of the use and benefits of chloro-s-triazine herbicides in U.S. corn and sorghum production,” Jan. 25, 2012, at the 2012 Southern Weed Science Society Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC.

The study’s other key findings include:

  • Atrazine benefits field corn farmers up to $2.9 billion annually.
  • Atrazine provides irreplaceable benefits to farmers of field corn, sweet corn and grain sorghum, including application flexibility, crop tolerance, weed control and tillage compatibility.

“I’ve spent my life in agriculture, and not just on the academic side of things. I grew up on a farm in Georgia and know first-hand about the never-ending labor and constant insecurity that accompany farming,” said Bridges. “As the price of corn rises, the economic benefits of atrazine become even more pronounced, and it becomes even more important to keeping American farmers competitive. The importance of triazine herbicides to U.S. agriculture cannot be matched. There is simply no other comparable product that offers as many benefits.”

Though atrazine was introduced more than 50 years ago, its importance, along with simazine and propazine, cannot be overstated. In addition to managing weeds, atrazine and its sister triazines are critical to support conservation tillage and no-till practices, which improve soil conservation in row crop production.

Prior to becoming president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2006, Bridges served as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and soils and master’s degree in weed science from Auburn University. He earned a doctorate in weed science from Texas A&M University. Much of Bridges’ career has been devoted to enumerating the use and benefits associated with pest management and crop protection products.

Syngenta, the principal registrant for atrazine, provided resources and support for Bridges’ research. His paper is part of a broad assessment by Syngenta to examine the value of atrazine in today’s agricultural economy.  

For more information about atrazine, visit www.atrazine.com.

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