Impacts of Herbicides on Crops and Weeds Essay

Impacts of Herbicides on Crops and Weeds Essay

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As early as 10,000 BC the human race understood the importance of controlling weeds in an agricultural setting. Weed control began with simple hand weeding, but proved to be extremely inefficient. Innovative means of control were discovered, but many of them were ahead of their time and did not become common practice. Thousands of years later, in 1000 BC, animals were finally domesticated and utilized as a means to improve cropping fields. It was not until the 20th century that pest control practices were modified and began to advance at a rapid pace. Mechanical tools emerged in the 1920s, followed by biological controls in the 1930s and chemical controls in the 1940s. Although chemicals are effective in eradicating countless pests, they have progressively gained scrutiny and speculation over time.
Pesticides became predominant practice in order to control nuisances in the mid20th century. In 2012 the EPA estimated 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides were used worldwide, forty percent of which were herbicides (Pesticide News Story, 2011). History testifies of the use of chemicals to control weeds, but it has only been in recent years that we have begun to understand and evaluate their impacts.
Pesticide use dates back as far as 1000 BC when the Greek poet, Homer, described the use of sulfur to deter pests (Some Pesticides, 2013). Since that time we have found other records that prove use and experimentation with chemical compounds. They include amurca, salts (including copper sulfate and sodium arsenate), and hemlock and lupine flowers. As time progressed, so did man’s ability to utilize organic chemicals. In 1904 petroleum oils were used to control weeds along irrigation ditches, in 1906 carbon bisulfide was used to control Cana...


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...ons of herbicides, we will be granted the ability to promote sustainable agriculture and preserve Earth’s natural beauty. Since the creation of synthetic chemicals in the 1940s we have progressed immensely to understand chemical drift, pollution, resistance, and the health risks associated to herbicides and their chemical compositions. Moreover, we have learned to harness the skills associated with herbicides and have used them for the world’s benefit to increase the agricultural industry, provide easier weed management in the home, maintain native lands in rangelands and forests, and manage weeds in public areas. Although herbicides receive a lot of negative opinions, they will continue to play a role in our lives in order to sustain all of these practices. Until herbicides can be replaced with something just as effective with smaller risks, they are here to stay.

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