Texas ranchers use ‘supercharged’ fertilizers, herbicides to boost yield
Agriculture Department officials said on Thursday that Texas cattle and ranching operations have used a variety of herbicides and other chemical treatments to boost the production of beef and milk.
The department’s National Agricultural Research Service, a division of the Agriculture Department, said the Texas ranching industry had been using the herbicides dicamba and pyrethroids since 2012.
The agency has also said that the herbicide-resistant supercharged fertilizers have increased the yield of some beef cattle.
The agency said in a statement that the Texas cattle industry has not yet seen the “supercharged” fertilizers.
“The USDA is committed to ensuring that the U.S. cattle industry continues to thrive and to supporting those operations that are investing in new technology and technologies to produce high-quality, sustainable products that meet our needs,” the agency said.
In addition to boosting cattle and milk production, the supercharged fertilizer and herbicide treatments increase the productivity of plants by allowing for more light and air, the USDA said.
The fertilizers also reduce the need for fertilizer, which is often used to help control weeds and other problems in the fields.
Texas cattle and dairy operations have grown increasingly reliant on herbicides over the past two decades as the U of T and other universities have developed their own varieties of herbicide, including dicampax, imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos.
Several U. of T agricultural and environmental scientists have said the herbicidal compounds could be harmful to the environment and the health of cattle.