Atrazine, a herbicide, and some of its degradation products could seep into groundwater and impair water quality across the Florida Everglades, according to Scientists from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Florida. The team reports details of its studies into specific groundwater risk from atrazine in the September issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.
In the same report, Thomas Potter and colleagues also report how they may have discovered a solution to the potential problem – a herbaceous annual that grows to two meters: sunn hemp.
The studies focused on sweet corn production and investigated whether fields with a highly vigorous cover crop would reduce the impact of herbicide use on the environment. Sunn hemp planted during uncultivated summer periods was found to be effective in reducing weeds and leaching while at the same time enriching the soil. Sunn hemp, not to be confused with cannabis hemp, can be grown to prevent soil erosion, as high-protein forage. The older plants can be used to make cloth, twine, and rope.
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