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Holly Martin is the editor of High Plains Journal/Midwest Ag Journal.

Study shows that atrazine benefits consumers

U.S. consumers and society benefit from atrazine and other triazine herbicides by up to $4.8 billion per year, due to increased yield as well as decreased producer costs and reduced soil erosion, according to new studies.

In addition, the U.S. economy benefits from atrazine and other triazine herbicides by as much as $22 billion over a five-year period.

Benefits to farmers and consumers from the triazine herbicides include increased corn, sorghum and sugar cane crop yields, lower weed-control costs, significantly reduced soil erosion and less carbon released into the atmosphere. Atrazine and the triazine herbicides account for as many as 48,000 American jobs in corn production alone.

The findings demonstrate triazine benefits to food production, environmental protection and U.S. job creation.

Atrazine and the other triazines have played a major role in U.S. agriculture for more than 50 years, serving as the foundation of corn, sorghum, and sugar cane weed-control systems, according to David C. Bridges, Ph.D., who announced the findings.

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of atrazine and the triazine herbicides to U.S. agriculture and global food supplies. They benefit food production, the environment and the economy – and that means jobs,” said David C. Bridges, Ph.D., president, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, University of Georgia. “Some say there are ready replacements. In fact, there is no substitute for atrazine.”

The studies’ key findings include:

  • Over five years, the triazines provide between an $18 billion and $22 billion benefit to the U.S. economy.
  • Atrazine increases U.S. corn output by 600 million bushels per year.
  • The triazines prevent up to 85 million metric tons of soil erosion per year – enough to fill more than 3 million dump trucks.
  • Atrazine and the other triazine herbicides help reduce emissions by up to 280,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Growers are using atrazine to control new herbicide-resistant weeds.

The findings show atrazine increases U.S. corn production by about 7 additional bushels per acre of production, while U.S. sorghum farmers benefit by more than 13 additional bushels per acre of yield. Those yields help save the U.S. beef, dairy, pork, poultry and egg industries more than $1.4 billion per year. These benefits resonate throughout the entire supply chain, from farmers and food processors to retailers and consumers, Bridges said.


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