Herbicides: Advantages & Disadvantages | Agristudent.com


What are Herbicides?


The chemical or an agent which kill, inhibit the growth of unwanted plants such as weeds in agriculture are called Herbicides.

The most important reason for increasing use of herbicides for weed control in Agriculture is Ease of application and saving in labour cost.

What are the advantages of Herbicides?

1. Herbicides are relatively cheap, and most of the time cheaper than manual weeding.

2  They are easy to use

3. Herbicides can be used on closely planted crops where other methods cannot be used.

4. Most of the time one application of the herbicide is enough whereas other methods have to be continually used.

5. They can destroy plants bearing diseases.

6. They can be safely used as the manual and mechanical removing of weeds can destroy the crop.

7. Non-selective herbicides can effectively clear fields, where houses and roads can then be built.

You may also like to read our other articles

Weed Shift and Resistance | Agristudent.com

Weeds classification | Agristudent.com

Why herbicides can be hazardous?

Although herbicides have good uses and many advantages, there are disadvantages too. They are

1. Many of the herbicides are highly persistant due to which residues of certain herbicides like simazine and other triazines are found in ground and surface water.

2. Some herbicides are non-biodegradable and are harmful for a long period of time since Heavy dose of herbicides affect microbial population of the soil.

3. With herbicides targeting amino acid synthesis in both plants and microbes, there is a possibility that N2 fixation may be inhibited by the application of certain herbicides.

4. Most herbicides are specifically plant poisons, and are not very toxic to animals. However, by changing the vegetation of treated sites, herbicide use also changes the habitat of birds, mammals, insects, and other animals through changes in the nature of their habitat.

5  when Herbivores eat the plants treated with herbicides and then carnivores eat the herbivores, the toxic herbicide would be passed up the food chain increasing in concentration each time resulting in cancers and even deaths.

6. Pesticides and herbicides can cause a number of health problems such as heart congestion, lung and kidney damage, low blood pressure, muscle damage, weight loss and adrenal glands damage.

7. Herbicides and pesticides have been suspected by the National Cancer Research Institute as a probable cause of certain cancers (i.e., cancers of the brain, prostrate, stomach and lip, as well as leukemia, skin melanomas, etc.) especially among farmers.

8  An important problem with broadcast applications is that they are non-selective. If herbicides are not used properly, damage may be caused to crop plants, especially if too large dose is used, or if spraying occurs during a time when the crop species is sensitive to the herbicide.

9. Apart from their effect on the environment, another major problem with herbicides has been the build-up of herbicide-resistant biotypes where the same herbicide has been used repeatedly for a number of years. Since the early 1980s, triazine resistance has developed in most countries where these herbicides have been used. The usefulness of a number of other herbicides, including paraquat, dichlofopmethyl and sulfonylurea types has been affected by the development of resistant biotypes.

Further readings and references

Handbook of Agriculture



Author: agristudent

Team Agristudent is a young and dynamic team of Agriculture specialists who have acquired specialised knowledge in their respective subjects. Their mission is to create a unique online encyclopedia of agriculture, which can be useful to millions around the world as an online reference library

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.