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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Weed Control in Sugarcane and the Role of Triazine Herbicides

Authors
item Smith, D - SOIL/CROP SCI DEPT TX A&M
item Richard Jr, Edward
item Santo, L - HAWAII AGRIC RES CENTER

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 7, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sugarcane is produced in tropical regions where year-round weed growth is also favored. Since the development of the triazine herbicides in 1960 no other chemistry has provided the lasting benefits of the same magnitude in a single commodity. The advantages of the triazine herbicides, particularly ametryn and atrazine, in terms of : consistent performance, low cost, residual control of numerous weeds, flexibility in time or method of application, complimentary with other herbicides, and crop safety were discussed. Because of these attributes it has been extremely difficult to find new chemistries which could serve as replacements for the triazines. The chapter should provide readers with an appreciation of the impact of the triazine herbicides in freeing sugarcane growers from the historical burdens of controlling weeds and enabling them to manage other physical and financial resources to maximize returns for the agricultural and milling enterprises.

Technical Abstract: The emergence of weed control practices from hand labor to mechanical tillage to the current herbicide technologies over sugarcane's 5000-year history is chronicled. The role of the triazine herbicides, particularly ametryn and atrazine in the early development of chemical weed control programs for sugarcane is documented. In addition, the continued role of the triazines as critical components in herbicide mixtures to insure control of some of the most common weeds of sugarcane is illustrated. Currently, atrazine is used on 89% of the U.S. sugarcane acreage with sales of atrazine representing 31% of the U.S. sugarcane market. Ametryn is similarly important to sugarcane on a global basis with 94% of all ametryn sold being applied to sugarcane (7 million hectares worldwide). Case studies from Hawaii and Louisiana are presented to show how difficult it is to identify and label herbicides and herbicide mixtures which provide the spectrum of weed control and reduced risk of crop injury currently associated with the triazine herbicides.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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