Persistence of Herbicides in Rice–Rice System in Kerala

  • K. M. Durga Devi
  • C. T. Abraham
  • S. Krishnan
  • C. N. Upasana
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 12)


Tropical and humid conditions of Kerala provide a favorable environment for emergence of a wide range of plant species. Reduction in crop yield due to weeds has been estimated to be 30–80% under varying intensities. Due to the severity of weed problem, hike in labour wages and acute labour scarcity during the peak period of demand, chemical weed control has become indispensable in rice cultivation. The increasing use of herbicides in rice and rice–based cropping systems is of great concern because these chemicals may act as pollutants which can cause soil-plant-animal health hazards, deterioration of soil quality and other residue related problems. Therefore, recommendations on weed control can be evolved only if the residue studies confirm that these chemicals are dissipated from the environment soon after their mission is accomplished. A long-term herbicide trial in rice- rice system showed that continuous application of butachlor/pretilachlor in rice for 13 years from 2001 to 2014 in a lateritic soil did not result in build-up of residues in soil, grain and straw. Farmyard manure application significantly improved the bioefficacy of herbicides. Increasing organic matter content increased the rate of adsorption of herbicides as well as degradation by soil micro flora. Research results indicated that indiscriminate use of 2,4-D in lowland paddy fields in Kuttanad region (lying below the sea level) resulted in the persistence of residues in water bodies. Long-term application of herbicides had no significant negative effect on the basic soil properties, viz. pH, organic C and available nutrients.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Durga Devi
    • 1
  • C. T. Abraham
    • 1
  • S. Krishnan
    • 1
  • C. N. Upasana
    • 1
  1. 1.College of HorticultureKerala Agricultural UniversityThrissurIndia

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