Significance of Atrazine in Sweet Corn Weed Management Systems

Williams II, Martin M.; Boerboom, Chris M.; Rabaey, Tom L.
April 2010
Weed Technology;Apr-Jun2010, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p139
Academic Journal
Weed management systems used by sweet corn growers, including the role of atrazine, are poorly characterized. Management records of 175 fields throughout the major sweet corn production areas of the Midwest were surveyed from 2005 to 2007. Seventy-four percent of sweet corn fields in the Midwest were grown in rotation with soybean or corn. Interrow cultivation was used on 48% of fields, and atrazine use was higher in those fields without interrow cultivation. A majority of fields (54%) received both PRE and POST herbicide applications. Mesotrione was applied below the registered use rate in two-thirds of the fields in which it was used POST. Atrazine rates in sweet corn were highest when the preceding crops were other vegetables, compared to preceding crops of soybean or corn. Selective herbicides are used extensively in U.S. sweet corn production, accounting for 94% of total weed management expenditures which average $123/ha. Growers treated 66% of fields with one or more applications of atrazine at an average total use rate of 1.35 kg ai/ha. The estimated annual net cost to replace atrazine in U.S. sweet corn production with the broad spectrum broadleaf herbicide, mesotrione, is $9.2 million.


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