Weed control

Tea is one of the leading crops in the move towards a more sustainable agriculture.
The major environmental issues in growing tea include:
Loss of habitats and effects on biodiversity
Soil erosion on the often hilly terrain
Water pollution and reduction in soil health by agrochemicals
Paraquat can be used to maintain a managed, non-competitive weed flora which provides habitats to encourage biodiversity and helps prevent soil erosion. Paraquat does not affect soil health and does not pollute soil or surface waters. The Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka recommends using paraquat as a weed management solution allowing reduced use of glyphosate, stating:
“Manual weeding and chemical weeding with paraquat in rotation could be advocated to sustain productivity and maintain an eco-friendly environment in tea plantations.”
Tea fact file 3.5 million ha grown worldwide, mainly in Asia
133%: increase in area harvested in Vietnam, one of the top five producing countries, since 1995
75 tonnes/ha of soil eroded annually from hilly tea estates in Sri Lanka
3 main varieties: Assam, China, Cambodian
Paraquat only removes the top growth of well-established weeds and does not affect the germination of new seedlings.
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.
Global production of palm oil has now overtaken soybean oil to be the world’s leading vegetable oil. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a multi-stakeholder not-for-profit association designed to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. RSPO has published a set of Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production. These include that growers: Minimise erosion
Ensure the quality of surface and groundwater
Use integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to protect crops from weeds, pests and diseases
Use agrochemicals in a way that does not damage health or the environment
Soil erosion on sloping ground is especially serious. Up to 14 tonnes per hecatre of soil have been estimated as being removed every year. Plantations affected cannot be re-planted and new land must be found. “Paraquat has always given good value, with fast and effective weed control, especially of difficult weeds like ferns, woody shrubs and volunteer oil palm seedlings, even in the rainy season. These days, it is important to use paraquat to prevent weed succession problems caused by glyphosate.”
- Professor Gembira Sinuraya, North Sumatra University, Indonesia
Citrus fruit make-up a vast family including not only oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit, but also calamondins, citrons, pomelos and ugli fruit.
Integrated pest management (IPM) systems have been introduced to minimize the impact of citrus growing on soil, water, air and biodiversity.  Paraquat has a key role in sustainable citrus production by controlling weeds that would otherwise seriously reduce productivity.  It can be used in conjunction with other techniques to manage soil erosion, particularly the use of strips of grass or legume cover crops between trees.
Paraquat can be safely sprayed to manage the weed flora along the crop rows between the grass or legume strips without fear of damaging the citrus trees.  Paraquat is immobile in soil and cannot move to the roots and up into the shoots.  Tree bark cannot be penetrated by paraquat meaning that it can be sprayed right up to the base of the trees.  Even if paraquat drifts onto citrus leaves there is little or no damage because paraquat does not move through plants like glyphosate does.
Citrus fact file 1:  Brazil is the leading citrus growing country
8.7 million ha of citrus are grown worldwide
43% are oranges, 27% mandarin types, 11% lemons and limes, 3% grapefruit
33% of crops are grown for juice
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ranks bananas as the world’s fourth most important crop after the major cereals. Bananas are rich in carbohydrate, potassium and vitamins, including A, C, and B6. They are a good source of dietary fibre and are fat-free.
Bananas are not only eaten raw. They may be boiled, steamed, mashed and rolled into balls as ‘foutou’, grilled, roasted or fried; a flour for cakes and biscuits is made in the tropics; and in the Philippines, banana ketchup is popular. A beer made from the juice of ripe fruit is popular in central Africa. Animals, especially pigs, are reared on surplus fruit.
Banana fact file 400 million people eat bananas as a staple food
130 countries grow bananas, led by India
55% increase in production since 2000
6 billion dollars worth of annual trade
50 tonnes/ha grown in Costa Rica, 2x world average
Taro is a tropical starchy root crop which is a staple food in many subsistence communities, particularly in the Pacific islands.
Often called “the potato of the tropics” taro makes up almost 20% of peoples’ daily calorific intake in some areas, compared to only 3-5% represented by potatoes for people in the US and Europe.
Economically, it is an important source of export revenue, mainly to supply ex-patriot islanders living in Australia, New Zealand and the west coast of the US.
As a tropical crop, protecting taro from weeds is essential. Weeds thrive in such hot and humid climates, robbing yield. 
“Paraquat in Samoa is not only helping farmers to provide a staple food but is also enabling taro to become a very important export crop as well. It is the only product I know of that can be used with safety to the crop."
- David Browne, Venture Exports New Zealand. David has over 30 years of experience in the Pacific Islands.
Ever wonder what fuels the impressive size and power of the awesome Pacific Island rugby players? Look no further than taro. Taro is a tropical starchy root crop which is a staple food in many subsistence communities, particularly in the Pacific islands. And while the rugby team members most likely have a broad selection of meals from which to choose, for many people living in these areas taro is an essential part of their diet.
Often called “the potato of the tropics,” its role is so significant that taro is celebrated in festivals and on coins in many Pacific Island cultures. And it is no wonder: taro makes up almost 20% of peoples’ daily calorific intake in some areas, compared to only 3-5% represented by potatoes for people in the US and Europe. Economically, it is an important source of export revenue, mainly to supply ex-patriot islanders living in Australia, New Zealand and the west coast of the US.
As a tropical crop, protecting taro from weeds is critical. Weeds thrive in such hot and humid climates, robbing yield. Hand hoeing crops is one option, but, not only is this time consuming and labour intensive, but it means other opportunities, particularly for education in poorer communities, may be missed. Using the right choice of herbicide provides an effective alternative. 
Paraquat is an essential tool for taro farmers
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.