Field demonstrations in West Bengal prove that using paraquat and no-till plus thrown seedling technology in paddy rice is enhancing productivity. Paraquat and no-till are providing a solution that minimizes the cost and number of days required for rice cultivation.
“Minimizing costs includes the cost of plowing, which is about Rs. 2250 to 3000,” commented Mr. Tapas Kundu, District Plant Protection Officer, North 24 Parganas, for the Government of West Bengal’s Department of Agriculture.
He goes on to explain, “Normally, establishing rice requires 12 to 14 days for land preparation, including one or two days of plowing and eight to 10 days of stoppage to allow the weeds to decompose before the farmer gives the field a final cultivation and levels the field for rice transplanting. By using paraquat, a farmer can transplant in just four days. So, he can save an average of 10 days using this method and can use this time to establish his next crop, like early potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables, which fetch an attractive market price.”
Soybeans stand out from other major crops: broad leaved rather than a grass; a legume, so plants supply their own needs for nitrogen fertilizer while increasing the fertility of the land; and soybeans are rich in oil, protein and carbohydrate.
In the US, soybeans are grown on half of the 30 million hectares on which no-till farming is practiced. In Brazil, no-till has also been widely adopted for soybeans. Broad-spectrum herbicides, led by the introduction of paraquat in the 1960s, allowed the adoption and growth of no-till which does not rely on controlling weeds by burial from ploughing.
Soybean fact file 111 million hectares grown worldwide in 2013
90% or more of all soybean fields in USA and Argentina are GM
70% increase in productivity since 2000
40% of bean weight is oil rich in monounsaturated oleic acid
12% of US soybeans were used to make biodiesel in 2014
13 million hectares under no-till in USA
No-till systems save cash, time and fuel, improve soil structure, reduce erosion and provide havens for wildlife. Paraquat is deactivated on contact with the soil meaning that it can be sprayed to burndown weeds before planting without risking crop damage from root uptake. Paraquat works well even in cold and rainy weather.
Maize, often called corn, along with wheat and rice is one of the world’s top crops. Maize provides basic staple foods for much of the world’s population. All around the world maize grain is a basic livestock feed, and the crop can be cut while still green to make silage as a winter feed. Also, increasing amounts of maize in the US are being used to make bioethanol fuel.
Maize, perhaps more than any other crop, reaches both high and low extremes of sophistication, mechanisation and technology in crop production. But, all farmers need to maximise the yield and quality of their produce, while saving the costs, time and labor needed to grow it.
Broad-spectrum herbicides, led by the introduction of paraquat in the 1960’s, have allowed the adoption and growth of soil cultivation systems which do not rely on controlling weeds by burial from ploughing.
Cotton is a fibre which protects the seed of the cotton plant, much as the flesh of an apple protects the pips.
In 1997, GM cotton tolerant to the non-selective herbicide glyphosate was introduced. Although herbicide tolerant cotton has many advantages, it has contributed to enormous increases in the use of glyphosate which is now posing problems by encouraging the development of resistant weeds which are no longer controlled by this herbicide.
No more than two applications of glyphosate should be applied to any one field over two seasons. Paraquat can provide the alternative means of effective and sustainable weed control.
Using paraquat in weed control programmes can also address a number of environmental issues concerned with cotton growing including soil erosion and degradation, water contamination by run-off and leaching of agrochemicals, and loss of habitats and effects on biodiversity.
Paraquat is deactivated on contact with the soil meaning that it can be sprayed to burndown weeds before planting a cotton crop without risking damage to that crop or indeed subsequent crops in the rotation. It does not pollute soil or surface waters because it is immobilised and deactivated immediately on contact with soil.
Pull on a pair of jeans and literally enjoy the fruits of one of the world’s major crops and two industrial revolutions. The demin in jeans is a weave of cotton, originally ‘de Nimes’ in France.
Cotton is a fibre which protects the seed of the cotton plant, much as the flesh of an apple protects the pips. So, fruit are not only for eating.
In late 18th century England, James Hargreaves’s ‘spinning jenny’ led developments in cotton spinning technology for the textile industry and primed the Industrial Revolution, leading to factories and mass production.
Now cotton is a crop at the forefront of the revolution in biotechnology, being the second genetically modified (GM) crop to be introduced in broadacre agriculture after soybeans, in 1997. One of the main traits in GM cotton is tolerance to applications of the non-selective herbicide glyphosate. Other GM cotton varieties provide protection against some of the many insects which can ravage the crop. The choice of herbicide resistance as an early target for biotechnology research indicates the importance of effective weed control in cotton.
In this section you will find articles about paraquat's environmental profile. One of paraquat's key chemical properties, fundamental to the way it is used in sustainable farming systems, is that it is inactivated immediately on contact with soil.
Paraquat has been an essential tool for farmers in protecting sustainable cropping systems for more than 50 years. Its unique properties have enabled the development of vital new crop production techniques, especially no-till.
This section includes in-depth features that cover topics including:
Paraquat's role in sustainable agriculture
All about weeds and weed control
Important crops and their production systems
Reduces soil erosion
By killing weeds but leaving roots in place, paraquat stabilizes the soil.
Case Study
In the five year Sagip-Lupa project in the Philippines researchers have been collaborating to study approaches to reducing the serious threat to food production and the environment. posed by soil erosion
On the three experimental sites an average of more than 100 tonnes/ha of topsoil has been lost each year by farming in the traditional way. The large savings of precious topsoil from using paraquat and no-till are all statistically significant.
Crop yields have also benefited.
Read more …
Increases soil organic matter
Using paraquat in conjunction with less soil tillage helps to preserve organic matter. This is good for soil health and structure, increasing fertility, improving water infiltration and retention, and locking up carbon dioxide.
Case Study
No-till crop production using paraquat for weed control is enabling the successful cultivation of one of China’s last available soil resources for food production.
In Southern China nearly 30 million hectares of red soils have been cultivated, but they are highly weathered, inherently infertile and very susceptible to erosion. Paraquat and no-till can help by stabilizing the soil.
Controls weeds
Paraquat is an important tool for weed management. It controls many species and can be used with most crops. Its mode of action means that it is especially valuable where intensive use of glyphosate has caused, or threatens to cause, the development of glyphosate resistant weeds.
Case Study
The extensive adoption of glyphosate tolerant GM crops has led to farmers over-relying on glyphosate.
Although glyphosate is encouraging the continued adoption of no-till, with all the benefits to soil conservation that brings, up to three million hectares in Brazil are now estimated to be infested with glyphosate resistant weeds.
However, an integrated weed control system involves continuing to spray glyphosate for burndown, but following just before or just after planting the crop with an application of a paraquat-based herbicide.
Read more …
Acts fast
Paraquat acts fast in all seasons, no matter what the conditions: hot, dry, wet, early season or late. Paraquat is rainfast in 15 - 30 minutes.
Case Study
In West Bengal, India, using paraquat to burndown weeds in a no-till system means farmers can transplant a new rice crop after only four days compared to the usual 12 days. Traditionally, fields are plowed and farmers have to wait for buried weeds to decompose sufficiently to allow a final cultivation.
Articles in this section are about specific examples of how paraquat is being used and new uses explored in sustainable cropping systems.
The case studies show how farmers, their families and their land can benefit by farming with paraquat; and how this enables them to grow better crops.