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Atrazine Human Health Risk Assessment Now Available for Public Comment

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the atrazine draft human health risk assessment for public comment. The assessment identifies potential risks to children who crawl and play on lawns sprayed with atrazine and to workers who apply atrazine and/or enter treated fields after application.

Atrazine is one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States. It is used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane, and to a lesser extent on residential lawns and golf courses. In the assessment, EPA reviewed all available scientific data, including published toxicity and epidemiology literature. The assessment uses multiple lines of evidence and methodologies that reflect current science. Continue reading

New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp

Waterhemp has been locked in an arms race with farmers for decades. Nearly every time farmers attack the weed with a new herbicide, waterhemp becomes resistant to it, reducing or eliminating the efficacy of the chemical. Some waterhemp populations have evolved resistance to multiple herbicides, making them incredibly difficult to kill.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that waterhemp can evolve resistance in at least two ways. In target-site resistance, a gene mutation changes the protein that the herbicide is designed to attack. With an ill-fitting protein binding site, the herbicide becomes ineffective. The plus side of target-site resistance is that it is relatively easy to identify using standard lab procedures. Continue reading

Statewide AgriLife Extension weed specialist retires after 27 years

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Weed problems in crops have been the focus of Dr. Paul Baumann for more than 27 years. But as of Aug. 31, he’ll be turning his interests to retirement.

Baumann, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state weed specialist in College Station, joined AgriLife Extension in 1989 and has devoted his career to addressing and solving weed management and environmental issues facing the agency’s stakeholders. Continue reading

EPA Releases Draft Triazine Ecological Risk Assessments for Comment

EPA is releasing the draft ecological risk assessments for atrazine, propazine and simazine, which evaluate risks to animals and plants including, amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities, and terrestrial plants. All three pesticides are in the triazine class of pesticides.

EPA invites stakeholders to comment on the draft ecological risk assessments when the Federal Register notice publishes and the public comment period opens within a week. The draft assessments are currently available on the agency’s website.  EPA will be accepting public comments for 60 days after the Federal Register publishes. After receiving and reviewing public comments, the agency will amend the assessments, as appropriate.  EPA will have atrazine’s assessment peer reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Panel in 2017. Continue reading

Researchers Identify Herbicide Resistant Mechanism In Waterhemp

In the Missouri Ruralist

Responding to the first known report of waterhemp showing resistance to HPPD (4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase)-inhibiting herbicides, such as Callisto, Impact, and Laudis, weed science researchers at the University of Illinois have identified two unique mechanisms in the plant that have allowed the weed to “get around” these herbicides.

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Select and Use Herbicides Without Harming the Environment

From Plant Management Network

Source: Michigan State University Press Release. msue.anr.msu.edu

Herbicides are a necessary tool that many farms utilize for pest control. The challenge that farms face in using these chemicals is the effect they may have on the environment. Michigan State University Extension recommends that farms consider the following steps when choosing and applying herbicides:

Continue reading