FAQs - Benefits and Alternatives

A. Paraquat is a valuable herbicide tool in developed and developing countries, benefiting farmers, society, and the environment. When used in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations, paraquat delivers safe, effective weed control and generates greater social and economic benefits, while protecting the land for future generations. The key benefits of paraquat include:

Economic benefits helping farmers improve the output from their land

  • Rapid speed of action with complete control of all green plant tissue within 1-7 days
  • Increased yields thanks to the timely removal of weeds which reduces competition for light, water, and nutrients
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions. Paraquat is rainfast 15 - 60 minutes after application and its uptake is not dependent on temperature or soil moisture making it particularly well-adapted to tropical agriculture
  • Reduces labor requirements like hand-weeding and is highly efficient as a tool for inter-row weeding
  • Saves time through its compatibility with other herbicides and fertilizers, enabling several products to be applied in one application
  • Ideal partner in 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."
    (IWM) programs to control resistant weeds

Crop safety

  • The action of paraquat is restricted to the part of the plant that it contacts and it is not translocated to other parts of the plant.

Environmental

  • Any excess paraquat does not run off

    Description

    The occurrence of surplus liquid (like rain) which originates up-slope and is collected beyond the ability of the soil to absorb it. The surplus liquid then flows away over the surface to reach the nearest surface water (pond, lake, river).

    Authoritative On-line References and Resources

    US Geological Survey's Water Science School
    of the surface or leach

    Description

    The natural process by which water soluble substances are carried downward through the soil into groundwater.
    through soil to affect quality of ground water
  • Paraquat contributes to the reduction of 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.
    by wind or rain because paraquat only affects the aerial (above ground) parts of weeds and does not kill roots. This helps to bind and stablize soil
  • Paraquat is rapidly adsorbed and deactivated upon soil contact
  • It is the ideal herbicide for use in 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.
    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.
    farming

Consumer benefits

Due to its deactivation properties and its method and target of application, paraquat leaves practically no residues in food. In 2004, paraquat was reviewed under a periodic re-evaluation of dietary residues under the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), “The Meeting concluded that the intake of residues of paraquat resulting from uses considered by the current JMPR was unlikely to present a public health concern.” The 2004 JMPR report is available here.
A. There is no effective alternative to paraquat. Paraquat has unique properties. It is the only broad-spectrum, rapid-action precision herbicide. Other broad-spectrum materials are slow acting, strongly or moderately systemic, and are sensitive to post-application weather. As a result, they are not effective alternatives to paraquat in markets requiring rapid, precision use, crop safety and soil conservation through the retention of roots. Paraquat makes farming of certain staple crops viable in developing countries, generating greater social and economic benefits, while reducing soil and wind erosion and protecting the land for future generations.