Why Herbicides are Used in Agriculture

Weeds are a significant problem in production agriculture. They compete with crops for the vital nutrients and water in the soil, decrease the quality of the harvested crops and can jeopardize the safety of food products.

Weed control and herbicide use are not exclusive to traditional agriculture operations. Organic producers in the United States are permitted to use herbicides made from natural sources. Commercially sold organic herbicides are very expensive and are often not affordable for conventional farming operations.

Conventional farms often use plows to work the land and manage weeds. This is a labor-intensive process that leaves valuable topsoil exposed, so some producers have sought new ways to control weeds in the field.

The introduction of no-till farming allows producers to abandon the plow in an attempt to preserve the nutrients and water in the soil. Without tilling, farmers must use herbicides to control weeds in their fields. Their only other option would be weeding thousands of acres by hand. Advancements in chemical and seed technology enable farmers to treat their fields with low levels of non-toxic herbicides and continue to produce an abundance of safe and healthy food products.