A number of comments on the EPA's proposed revisions to atrazine use regulations call attention to the negative impact the new rules would have on no-till.
The proposed rules would reduce the concentration equivalent level of concern equivalent from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 3.4 ppb, reduce atrazine usage to a maximum of 2 pounds per acre per year, prohibit aerial spraying, and ban atrazine applications to saturated soils, as well as within 48 hours of forecasted heavy precipitation. Growers in areas where the concentration equivalent level of concern would exceed 3.4 ppb would be required to apply mitigation measures from "picklists" furnished by the EPA.
On Oct. 7, Syngenta, which uses atrazine in its products, submitted a 238-page document of compiled comments to the EPA. The company uses no-till as an example of how the EPA's mitigation framework pick list options are inconsistent or not available, depending on the field type and conditions.
"For example, 'no preemergence applications' likely cannot be adopted alongside a 'no-till' approach, since the 'no-till' approach typically relies on preemergence application for 'burndown' prior to planting," the Syngenta document reads.
In comments submitted over the weekend, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles also pointed out how the EPA's proposal would negatively impact no-tillers. He called the proposed 3.4 ppb limitation "overly restrictive" and an "overreaching and misguided reduction" that will undermine sustainability gains made over the past decades. Quarles noted the combination of atrazine and no-till lessens fuel expenses and allows farmers to implement production systems that can lower soil erosion by up to 90%.
The EPA received 68,291 comments on the proposal as of Oct. 14. A report from DTN indicates many of the early comments came from mass mail campaigns. As of Wednesday (two days before to the comment deadline), the EPA had determined only 66 of the nearly 11,000 comments on the docket were unique, DTN reports. Click here to see a list of submitted comments.
The EPA will now review the comments. According to the docket for the atrazine proposal, "revisions to the atrazine interim registration review decision memorandum will explain the effect that any comments had on the revisions to the atrazine interim registration review decision and provide the agency's response to significant comments."