Does the Use of Atrazine in Maize Grown Under Conservation Agriculture Adversely Affect Soybean Productivity in Maize-Soyabean Rotation in Zimbabwe?

  •  Tarirai Muoni    
  •  Leonard Rusinamhodzi    
  •  Stanford Mabasa    
  •  Joyful Rugare    
  •  Christian Thierfelder    


Weed management challenges in the early years of conservation agriculture (CA) adoption may require the use of herbicides for farmers to realise the immediate benefits of CA practices. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of atrazine on soybean grown after maize in a maize-soybean rotation under conservation agriculture. Atrazine was applied at 1.8 kg ha-1 active ingredient (a.i), as a pre-emergence herbicide in the maize phase of the rotation. The study was conducted in Zimbabwe at Domboshawa Training Centre (DTC), Henderson Research Station (HRS) and University of Zimbabwe farm (UZ farm) over two seasons (2011/2012 and 2012/2013). Manual weeding was utilised to keep the study area weed free and eliminate interference from weeds. Weed density, weed biomass, soybean germination, soybean biomass and grain yield were measured. The lowest germination of soybean was recorded at 57% in 2011/2012 at DTC under atrazine + glyphosate + metolachlor in combination with manual weeding treatment. Previous atrazine treatment to maize showed no significant differences on soybean biomass accumulation and broadleaf weed density at all sites in both seasons. The highest soybean yields recorded were 3707 kg ha-1 at DTC in 2011/12 season in atrazine + glyphosate + metolachlor plus manual weeding treatment.  Based on results obtained in this study it can be concluded that soybean can be grown in plots where atrazine was applied as a pre-emergent herbicide during the maize phase.

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