A University of Nebraska–Lincoln project to evaluate potential alternatives to atrazine in weed control in corn received a $49,979 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Amit Jhala, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture and Nebraska Extension weed management specialist, leads the project.
Corn is the number one crop in Nebraska, grown on 9 to 10 million acres annually. Atrazine is a commonly used herbicide for weed control in corn and sorghum, but due to increasing concern about surface water and groundwater contamination with atrazine, it is possible that the Environmental Protection Agency may restrict the herbicide’s use. That will require alternative herbicides for weed control in corn.
The Nebraska researchers plan to determine atrazine dissipation in corn fields in silt loam soil in south-central Nebraska; evaluate herbicide programs without atrazine for weed control in corn in multi-year field experiments; and evaluate the environmental impact quotient of herbicide programs without atrazine.
The team also will conduct Nebraska Extension field days to disseminate results, in collaboration with the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Ultimately, the goal is to reduce atrazine use by Nebraska’s 23,000 corn growers.
This is the first year of the award, with potential second- and third-year funding of $49,041 and $47,154, respectively. The project is one of 118 receiving $20 million in grant awards from the NET this year. Of these, 73 were new applications and 45 are carry-over projects.
The Nebraska Legislature created the NET in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the trust has provided more than $328 million in grants to more than 2,300 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The NET works to preserve, protect and restore the state’s natural resources for future generations.