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Changes in Herbicide Use after Adoption of HR Canola in Western Canada

  • S. J. Smyth (a1), M. Gusta (a1), K. Belcher (a1), P. W. B. Phillips (a2) and D. Castle (a3)...
Abstract

This article examines the changes in herbicide use in relation to canola production in Western Canada, comparing 1995 and 2006. The commercialization and widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant (HR) canola has changed weed management practices in Western Canada. Before the introduction of HR canola, weeds were controlled by herbicides and tillage as the leading herbicides at that time required tillage to allow for soil incorporation of the herbicide. Much of the tillage associated with HR canola production has been eliminated as 64% of producers are now using zero or minimum tillage as their preferred form of crop and soil management. Additionally, there have been significant changes regarding the use and application of herbicides for weed control in canola. This research shows that when comparing canola production in 1995 and 2006, the environmental impact of herbicides applied to canola decreased 53%, producer exposure to chemicals decreased 56%, and quantity of active ingredient applied decreased 1.3 million kg. The cumulative environmental impact was reduced almost 50% with the use of HR herbicides. If HR canola had not been developed and Canadian canola farmers continued to use previous production technologies, the amount of active ingredient applied to control weeds in 2007 would have been 60% above what was actually applied.

Este artículo examina los cambios en el uso de herbicidas en relación a la producción de canola en el occidente de Canadá comparando 1995 y 2006. La comercialización y la amplia adopción de canola resistente a herbicidas han cambiado las prácticas de manejo de las malezas en el occidente de Canadá. Antes de la introducción de la canola resistente a herbicida, las malezas se controlaban por medio de herbicidas y labranza, ya que el herbicida principal requería la labranza para permitir la incorporación del herbicida al suelo. La mayoría de la labranza asociada a la producción de canola resistente a herbicida ha sido eliminada debido a que 64% de los productores prefieren usar labranza cero o mínima para el manejo del cultivo y del suelo. Adicionalmente, ha habido cambios significativos en referencia al uso y aplicación de herbicidas para el control de malezas en la producción de canola. Esta investigación muestra que cuando se compara la producción de canola en 1995 y 2006, el impacto ambiental de los herbicidas aplicados a la canola disminuyó 53%, la exposición de los productores a los químicos disminuyó 56% y la cantidad de ingrediente activo aplicado se redujo en 1.3 millones de kilogramos. El impacto ambiental acumulativo fue casi 50% menos con el uso de canola resistente a herbicidas. Si la canola resistente a herbicidas no hubiera sido desarrollada y los agricultores canadienses de este cultivo continuaran utilizando la tecnología previa de producción, la cantidad de ingrediente activo aplicado para el control de malezas en 2007 hubiera sido 60% más de lo que actualmente se aplicó.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author's E-mail: David.Castle@ed.ac.uk
References
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Weed Technology
  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
  • URL: /core/journals/weed-technology
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