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Re: [APD] herbicides

Haha, the organic farming, I'm certainly all for it and willing
to pay for it. Some herbicides make caffine look like Agent
orange, but folks seem to have no issue gulping coffee down
every morning.

Some are bad and should be phased out like Atrazine, ag interest
went hog wild when it came out and it's also one of the oldest
herbicides. They did repeated application of the same herbicides
and do not rotate crops and properly manage things. Now we have
atrazine tolerant crops. I think around 50 weeds are atrazine
resistant now last I checked. The resistance is not metabolic,
they inheritable genetic adaptations and this has been
characterized in a wide range of herbicides and well, every

Poor management of atrazine and poor undersatnding of it's use
in the environment allowed it get into the water supply, MTBH
additives to Gas, rocket fuel, PCBs, hexavalent Chromium,
mercury, are just some hard lessons from the past without water
environmental quality. 

But one herbicide that was mismanaged does not imply all
herbicides are bad or will be mismanaged(policy changes and
environmental monitoring etc).

Fluridone is very non toxic yet it also persist up to 1 year,
but caffine is quite deadly by comparison(about 40,000X). But
folks , the ignorant ones (don't be offended, I was in that
groups years ago), get all up in arms over ANY herbicide use. 

It does break down over time in harmless by products, which is a
good trait. Copper? It does not break down. 

Better usage and management of herbicides will greatly extend
the usefulness of these tools. It will also prevent
environmental issues.
I'm much less worried about herbicides etc and much more worried
about things that target human physiology, insecticides
(Organophosphates etc). These things(as well as herbicides) can
and do drift, plenty of lawsuits involving crops from this
issue, the guy treating one crop has it blow over and kills the
other guys peach crop.
So herbicide has a cost within farming as well in a legal area. 

The goal of any use of such chemicals in the environment should
be to have the minimal impact on the environment and non target
organisms, but still have some acceptable efficacy level.

This gets the most out of the herbicide and allows us to use the
tool longer before resistant biotypes evolve. Some herbicides
are only needed in very tiny amounts and break down in 2-4 days.

ALS and ACCase inhibitors are only used in tiny amounts and
target pathways which are unique to plants. There is also good
selectivity with weeds and crop biotypes. 

But antiherbicide groups still don't like them......generally
out of ignorance......

So ask them, how many would be willing to do the work, make some
folks get out there and do some weeding by hand.......I think
many might change their minds in about 2-4 hours. Or just have
some acceptable losses to the crops(and the amount $ per
acre/yield). It's not just the consumer that pays more.
Biocontrol is often discussed but the critters, fungi etc take
20+ years to get to market, often the worry is one of the new
pest come along and wipes out some non target organism and we
have added a new problem, not solved the original issue. So
great care needs to be done to see how an ecosystem will
respond, or you will get lawsuits......... 

Often such biocontrols are not suitable due to weather, really
don't have a strong impact on the pest, and have trouble
reproducing over the long term.

Having as many tools in the box to deal with such issues is the
best course of action, so all these things need to be explored.
The best management practices involve many "little hammers"
beating the pest down. The same applies to dealing with algae in
planted tanks.

Tom Barr


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