Soil erosion

Tea is a thriving crop in Vietnam and farmers rely on paraquat for a weed control system that reduces soil erosion

Description

Displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://soilerosion.net/ This site brings together reliable information on soil erosion from a wide range of disciplines and sources. It aims to be the definitive internet source for those wishing to find out more about soil loss and soil conservation.
.  Much of the tea crop is grown on sloping land prone to losing very significant amounts of soil each year.
Results of research conducted by the Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute show that using paraquat for weed control instead of hand hoeing can save huge amounts of soil. Paraquat is more effective than glyphosate because it leaves roots intact to anchor the soil.
Tea in Vietnam
Tea is an important industry in Vietnam with six million people involved in production, processing and exporting1. Tea is a native plant to the country and has been cultivated for thousands of years. The industry has been experiencing a rapid expansion since the mid 1990s. Yields have also improved, more than doubling over this period, and now approach the best in Asia2. Exports of tea are increasing and efforts are being made to improve the international image of Vietnamese tea. Vietnamese black tea is generally used in blends.
Lower costs and favorable environmental effects when using paraquat: these were the key conclusions from a four-year comparison of weed control methods in bananas, recently completed by the University of the Philippines.
The trial was conducted on a commercial plantation on Mindanao, the large southern island of the country. Bananas make a significant contribution to the economy of the Philippines being a major fruit export. New plantations are being established on more sloping land where soil erosion

Description

Displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://soilerosion.net/ This site brings together reliable information on soil erosion from a wide range of disciplines and sources. It aims to be the definitive internet source for those wishing to find out more about soil loss and soil conservation.
poses a real threat to sustainable production. Filipino authorities estimate that 623 million tonnes of soil are lost annually from 28 million hectares of land.
Erosion can be reduced by maintaining a vegetative cover on the soil. So, it is important to manage weeds so that they give as much cover as possible to help avoid erosion, but not to allow them to compete with the crop. Two weed control programs were compared. In the field trial, traditional methods of hand weeding and slashing with a machete called a bolo were compared to a monthly spray program in a sequence of two applications of paraquat followed by one of glyphosate.
Farmers in the mountains of Vietnam can plant maize crops more than two weeks early by using paraquat in a conservation tillage

Description

Any tillage and planting system that covers 30 percent or more of the soil surface with crop residue after planting to reduce soil erosion by water.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

Purdue University-based Conservation Technology Information Centre.
system. Timely operations are essential in growing all crops and paraquat’s unprecedented speed of action is often a huge help to farmers up against the weather or looking for earlier harvests to get the best prices.
Results of research conducted by The Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI) show that using paraquat for weed control increased maize yields by more than 50%1. Early planting was crucial to good yields – land preparation with slow acting glyphosate herbicide resulted in much lower yields.
As Vietnam has developed, agriculture has had to intensify to increase food production and to compensate for reductions in labor availability due to the movement of people to cities. Much of the agricultural land in Vietnam is on steep slopes. High rainfall means that the potential for soil erosion

Description

Displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://soilerosion.net/ This site brings together reliable information on soil erosion from a wide range of disciplines and sources. It aims to be the definitive internet source for those wishing to find out more about soil loss and soil conservation.
is very high. Soil has been recorded as being lost at rates approaching 200 tonnes per hectare in a single year2. Bare soil without any plant cover is most susceptible. Pressure to grow more food has resulted in excessive soil cultivation which soon damages soil structure by reducing levels of organic matter. Poor soil structure leads to erosion and low fertility.
In the Philippines, more successful results from a project using paraquat to control weeds and prevent soil erosion

Description

Displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://soilerosion.net/ This site brings together reliable information on soil erosion from a wide range of disciplines and sources. It aims to be the definitive internet source for those wishing to find out more about soil loss and soil conservation.
have been announced. Since 2005, researchers from several universities and other organisations have been collaborating to study approaches to reducing the serious threat posed by soil erosion to food production and the environment.
Professor Gil Magsino from the University of the Philippines presented the results and conclusions from the Sagip-Lupa project’s 4th Annual Report at the University of Benguet recently.
Prof. Magsino noted that an annual loss of 2 – 4 cm of topsoil from fields in the Philippines has become commonplace, but with the imperative of achieving sufficient levels of food production this cannot be sustained.
Benefits of paraquat-based agronomy Less soil lost
Higher yields
Lower input costs
Time savings
Plants and soil organic matter are key to reducing soil erosion. Living or dead mulches of plants covering the soil resist the impact of rain, and roots and organic matter bind soil particles together. Traditional methods of weed control such as hand hoeing and plowing remove unwanted plant material, ie weeds, and disturb the soil, encouraging erosion.
However, using an agronomy system based on paraquat means that weeds are only removed when necessary to protect yields.
Integrated weed management

Description

A decision support system for crop protection which focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems with minimum impact on human health, the environment, and non-target organisms. IPM takes into consideration all available pest control techniques and tactics (cultural, mechanical, biological, chemical). IPM emphasizes the growth of healthy crops for better productivity with the least possible disruption to agroecosystems.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://www.ipmcenters.org "The USDA's National Site for the Regional IPM Centers' Information System provides information about US commodities, pests and pest management practices, people and issues."
and no-till

Description

Also known as conservation tillage or zero tillage is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage ie cultivating the soil usually with tractor-drawn implements.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

No-till.com:  A portal for on-line information about no-till farming.
are advanced agronomic tools with common aims to improve efficiency and profitabilty, while reducing the environmental impact of crop production. Although advanced in concept, these tools are straightforward and can be adapted for use in all cropping systems, from highly mechanised ones to subsistence farming, all around the world.
Tillage is a well proven means of controlling weeds, so are other methods good enough to use in an integrated approach to weed management in no-till systems? This article examines how farmers can reap the rewards of both techniques together.
Farmers around the world know just how hard it is to control weeds. They tend to come back with a vengance, especially when the many elements causing weed problems have not been appreciated and addressed. Aiming to manage weeds rather than control them is not only more realistic, but if Integrated Weed Management (IWM) is applied properly, it can reduce costs, protect the soil, and support pest and disease control.
No-till systems also provide economic and environmental advantages. However, in no-till, the traditional means of weed management by ploughing to prepare a field for cropping is not used.
Paraquat is used to control a huge range of weeds worldwide, but to control weeds effectively and sustainably it is important to understand them.
Why does a plant become a weed? How can different types of weeds be described? What are the features of weeds and the way they grow which can be targeted by herbicides for successful control?
Paraquat and sustainable agriculture

Description

Management and conservation of the natural resource base and the use of technological and organizational change in a manner that ensures continued agricultural production from the land for present and future generations. Such practices conserve land, water, and plant and animal genetic resources. They are environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable, and socially acceptable. Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

www.nal.usda.gov Information from the USDA's Alternative Agricultural Systems Information Center.
, by Richard H. Bromilow
In his paper “Paraquat and sustainable agriculture,” author Richard H. Bromilow studies the role paraquat plays in supporting sustainable agriculture around the world.
Abstract: Sustainable agriculture is essential for man's survival, especially given our rapidly increasing population. Expansion of agriculture into remaining areas of natural vegetation is undesirable, as this would reduce biodiversity

Description

The variety of life in all its forms, levels and combinations. Includes ecosystem diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity (IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1991).

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://earthtrends.wri.org/ EarthTrends is a comprehensive online database, maintained by the World Resources Institute, that focuses on environmental, social, and economic trends. Statistics on biodiversity indicators are available.
on the planet. Maintaining or indeed improving crop yields on existing farmed land, whether on a smallholder scale or on larger farms, is thus necessary.
One of the limiting factors is often weed control; biological control of weeds is generally of limited use and mechanical control is either often difficult with machinery or very laborious by hand. Thus the use of herbicides has become very important.
Will farming and soil quality collide?
World Agriculture and the Environment is an important new book addressing the fear that increasing demand for food and fiber is on a “collision course” with soil quality.
This article is in two parts. In Part One, some of the main issues discussed in the book are reviewed. Part Two then explains how more than 50 years of research and practical use have shown that controlling weeds with paraquat can help provide improved and sustainable crop management practices to improve soil quality.
Part One: What ‘World Agriculture and the Environment’ says
In World Agriculture and the Environment authorJason Clay (World Wildlife Fund-US vice president, Center for Conservation Innovation) reviews the production and environmental impact of 21 of the world’s major food commodities. The main threats to the environment posed by crops, fish and meat are identified and explored, as well as the trends that shape those threats.
Major Issues
A fundamental acknowledgement in the book is that low intensity cropping can not support current, let alone future, levels of world population. There are two underlying reasons. First, using more land for farming destroys natural forests and grasslands.
Extensive long-term field studies confirm - and governments and regulatory authorities, worldwide, agree - that normal use of paraquat in accordance with the approved label instructions does not cause an unacceptable environmental impact.
These studies have shown that:
Paraquat is inactive in soil
When paraquat residues come into contact with the soil the paraquat active ingredient rapidly becomes adsorbed and strongly bound to clay and organic matter in the soil. It becomes biologically inert and as a result it cannot be taken up by plant roots or other organisms. Paraquat treated soils still maintain an active soil ecosystem with no adverse effects on soil microbes, microorganisms and earthworms. Paraquat cannot be released from the soil or re-activated by the application of water or other agrochemicals.
All agricultural soils, not only those with high clay content, have a high capacity to absorb paraquat.
Mr. Prasanna Srinivasan of New Dehli, India, is a recognized expert in the field of economics, policy and regulatory development and specializes in the impact of global environmental treaties on developing countries. Syngenta commissioned Mr. Srinivasan to provide a balanced assessment of the benefits and risks of pesticides in general and paraquat in particular. Mr. Srinivasan recently completed this review entitled, “Paraquat: A unique contributor to agriculture and sustainable development.
Please click on this link to download a copy of the review:
Paraquat: A Unique Contributor to Agriculture and Sustainable Development