Herbicides better than manual weeding
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CTA. 1998. Herbicides better than manual weeding. Spore 75. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/48108
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René Rabezandrina, of the Department of Agriculture of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, also shares some ideas on weeds (Spore 72, p.4) : 'True, not all farmers can get hold of some herbicides in isolated areas, but this should not be a...
René Rabezandrina, of the Department of Agriculture of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, also shares some ideas on weeds (Spore 72, p.4) : 'True, not all farmers can get hold of some herbicides in isolated areas, but this should not be a reason to deprive less isolated regions by not carrying out research and training on these products, as in the case in Madagascar at present. The relative costs of herbicides and weeding can be shown. Special mixtures are one and a half times the costs of manual weeding, but simpler products, such as 2-4-D, are half the cost of weeding. With regard to the claim that herbicides are dangerous to the farmer's health, this holds for any chemical substance. Herbicides, though, are significantly less dangerous than fungicides and, in particular, than insecticides. However, the latter are widely promoted and used in Madagascar against lice and rice borers, crickets, etc, without hurting the farmer. The risk can be avoided if Malagasy farmers are taught the proper application methods. They are no less aware than any others, as is shown by their correct use of insecticides and fertilisers. The claim that repeated use of herbicides encourages certain resistant species of weeds should refer to the use of a single herbicide, since if different types were used from year to year, the problem would not arise. As for the statement that pulling out and weeding manually is the best way to deal with weeds, it must be stressed that however much the farmer tries to manage weeds by weeding, the impact will always be less than with a proper use of herbicide. After all, he will only remove weeds when they have taken hold, and by then it is too late, since they will have already wrought their havoc by assimilating the fertilisers in the soil which the rice could enjoy, notably nitrogen. Herbicides, on the other hand, can prevent the appearance of weeds. Nonetheless, I fully share the author's opinion that herbicides lighten the work load. It took me one hour carrying a sprayer on my back to apply a quarter of a hectare of rice field with a herbicide liquid, the equivalent of four hours of not too heavy work per hectare. It would take four women one whole day of hard work (constantly bent over) to weed the same area manually. Let me add that the use of herbicides disturbs the soil less, and protects it better against erosion, than if you have to hoe or plough to remove or bury weeds.'
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