Weed Control Under Siege

Over the years, no-tillers have seen the benefit of providing effective season-long weed control and its impact on profits.

That’s why you should be concerned about three critical discussions taking place in Washington, D.C., that could have a major impact on the future of weed control in your no-tilled fields.

1. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed spray drift policy could have a serious impact on all pesticide applications. Whether you handle the spraying yourself or rely on a custom applicator, EPA’s desire to add language to all pesticide labels that would prohibit pesticide applications that result in spray drift will have a major impact. Yes, you read it right — EPA wants zero tolerance.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), allows a level of spray drift that does not cause an unreasonable adverse effect on human health or the environment. But noticeably absent from the new proposal is the word “unreasonable.”

Ag groups say the current law works well and doesn’t need to be rewritten. While it’s impractical to ban all chemical drift, new drift-reduction technologies and extensive applicator education will go a long way toward tackling concerns over pesticide drift.

2. We’ve already been through this a number of times, but President Obama’s administration has the EPA taking another look at the impact of atrazine on the environment.

Since its development in 1958, atrazine — both alone and in tankmixes — has become the most widely used corn herbicide in North America. It’s estimated the herbicide provides…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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