Herbicides: Limitations and Advantages

Herbicide, a toxic substance, synthetic or naturally extracted, used to kill unwanted plants. Globally the use of herbicides (Selective or Non-selective) is increased to a major extent resulted in negative impacts on environment, human life, wildlife, water and crops quality by their residual incidence.

Herbicides: Limitations and Advantages

A tremendous increase (39%) in value of worldwide herbicide use and market found between 2002 and 2011 and that is considered to increase more 11% by 2016, that is an alarming situation for environment and human life. The substitution of high priced farm equipment’s.

Other physical or physiological methods to control damaging and unwanted plants from crop field by low priced, efficient, time saving chemicals resulted in environmental pollution that is among the major drawbacks of herbicide use.   

In any case, it has caused numerous instances of human harming, with the lungs being the essential focused on organ. From the ecotoxicology, human wellbeing, and administrative angles, it is basic to limit the discharges and arrival of the exceptionally intensely poisonous concoction from the mechanical procedures and horticultural applications.

Accentuation was put on the most noteworthy appropriation in the oceanic condition, word related, and non-word related human exposures. Thoroughly, it is unequivocally persuading that paraquat isn’t a cancer-causing, and is quickly discharged through the urinary framework amid typical showering.

No doubt herbicides brought a revolutionary impact in the control of weeds but along with the beneficial impacts there is also alarming situation to limit the usage and restore the damage to environment, human life and cops caused by extensive use of herbicide. This article provides a detailed information about herbicide their types, positive and negative impacts on weeds, crops, humans and environment.


Herbicides use increasing day by day worldwide to mitigate the problematic weeds along with having a lot of adverse impacts on human life as well as environment. A tremendous increase (39%) in value of worldwide herbicide use and market found between 2002 and 2011 and that is considered to increase more 11% by 2016.

Countries having labour shortage, unavailability of tillage equipment’s to eradicate unwanted plants from farmland, time shortage are keener towards the adaptation of synthetic chemicals to free the crops from unwanted plants. However, the potential of herbicide also has a positive impact in increasing agricultural productivity, improved quality crop yield by improved control of weeds in many developed countries and will also play a major role in many developing countries in near future.

Expanded herbicide utilize advances manure utilize, which prompts significantly more noteworthy yield builds. Research has demonstrated that, if enough hand weeding is done at the ideal circumstances, trim yields are not decreased by weed rivalry. As a rule, edit fields are only sometimes enough weeded by hand; weeding is dull and tedious. Workers are not generally accessible when required. Weeding is regularly done late, causing uncommon misfortunes in yield.

The utilization of herbicides has picked up driving force from the general ascent in cultivate compensation as an outcome of general monetary development and development in non-cultivate business openings, especially in Asia satisfactory non-substance controls for weeds are not accessible, and herbicide utilize is expanding significantly because of rising open door expenses of work over the creating scene.

Herbicide utilize is expanding in numerous nations where culturing and flooding for weed control are being lessened to preserve characteristic assets: soil, water and vitality. Lessened culturing drastically diminishes guide fuel utilization in respect to traditional culturing with the mold board furrow. Not exclusively completes one herbicide application substitute for a few culturing trips, culturing gear is additionally heavier than herbicide sprayers and needs more vitality to pull steel actualizes through the dirt.

A mold board furrow expends 17 times more diesel fuel per unit region than a herbicide sprayer. A column edit cultivator requires 4 times more fuel for each trek over a field than a herbicide sprayer. Utilizing of herbicides is more helpful for controlling weeds and the world is racing to receive herbicides for the up and coming created agribusiness.

Thinking about the above realities, the goal of this article was to clear up the future destiny of herbicides with the extraordinary reference of appropriation, hazards of herbicides, impact on human, environment, crops and its request in various parts of the world.

Materials and Methods

Data presented in that article was extracted from different research, review articles also book chapters published in recognized journals, conferences, workshops and is based upon previous works done worldwide.

Present pattern of herbicide adaptation

Herbicides were quickly embraced in western European nations, the United States, Canada, South Korea and Japan in the 1950s– 1970s. As these nations quickly industrialized, a huge number of farm workers left provincial regions, which made deficiencies of laborers for hand weeding and culturing tasks. Without herbicides to supplant the withdrawing specialists, it isn’t likely that far reaching crop creation would have been polished any more drawn out in Germany.

In Japan, herbicide appropriation lessened the measure of time required for weeding tasks by 97%. In Korea, manual weeding had been the pervasive control for quite a long time. As work deficiencies showed up, herbicide utilize was suggested, and by 1971, 27% of the rice hectares were dealt with.

By 1977, 65% of the aggregate rice territory was treated with herbicides, and since the 1980s, 100% of Korea’s rice hectares have been treated with herbicides. In the United States, expanded herbicide utilize represented 20% of the expansion in corn yields and 62% of the expansion in soybean yields from 1964 to 1979.

Herbicides have been recognized as the fundamental factor hidden the expanded wheat yield in Canada since the 1960s. This control came about in decreased rivalry from weeds as well as in better seedbed dampness because less development was required. Yield creation on the Canadian prairies is restricted for the most part by absence of water. Removing land from edit creation for a year (fallowing) to moderate water has been rehearsed for a long time.

The 1970s denoted the presentation of glyphosate; this herbicide changed grain generation in western Canada as it encouraged the across the board selection of least till and zero-till cultivating frameworks. These frameworks have diminished fuel and work costs and have fundamentally expanded soil and water protection in the semi-bone-dry prairies. The expanded cost of diesel fuel and decreased cost of glyphosate in Canada in the 1980s– 1990s prodded the selection of no-till.

Coordinate seeding (protection culturing) rehearses are currently the standard; 70– 80% of the land is immediate seeded in western Canada. More noteworthy dampness protection has encouraged a 70% diminishment in neglected. Herbicides have rolled out these improvements conceivable. Australian grain cultivators have been decreasing their utilization of development since the 1970s, with 44% of the country’s yield in no-till by 2001.

The falling cost of the prevalent knockdown herbicide, glyphosate, had an essentially constructive outcome on the appropriation of no-till, with 78% of agriculturists rehearsing no-till in 2008. Research exhibited that utilizing herbicides rather than culturing brought about 27 mm of additional water in the dirt profile and an expansion in grain yields of 15– 25%.

In a wheat-decrepit framework in semi-bone-dry subtropical Queensland, Australia, rehearsing zero culturing decreased petroleum derivative outflows from hardware activity by 2.2 million g CO ha-1 more than 33 years, or by 67 kg CO ha-1 year-1 (4– 5 culturing tasks with an etch furrow to 10 cm amid neglected every year were supplanted by one herbicide splash).

Norway has confirmed that an outright essential for the accomplishment of these elective culturing frameworks is that lasting weeds, and additionally some winter-solid annuals, are expelled by showering herbicides. In Finland, in the 1990s, furrowing was yet the standard practice in spring oat fields, while the most recent insights demonstrate that lone portion of the grain field zone is as of now furrowed. In the meantime, the offers of glyphosate have dramatically increased inside 10 years in Finland.

Advantages of herbicide use

Weeds control by use of chemicals has advantages over manual and mechanical control of weeds. the beneficial impact of herbicide use on different crops is illustrated by many researchers worldwide by providing better environment for crop plants through proper availability of space, moisture availability, availability of plant substances, space and all the necessary things for which weeds compete with major plants.

Yield increment of different crops through herbicidal weed control has been presented in Table 1.  



Percent increment in yield


United states



Schroder et al., 1984




Freyman et al., 1982




Wylie, 2008




Khan et al., 2005




Mesthan et al., 1989

Limitations of herbicide use

Herbicides application should be done at proper time, rate, method also by evaluating the economic threshold level. Higher rates of herbicide then recommended occurs due to over-application resulted in negative impacts along with positive impact in terms of toxicity and high cost of herbicides.

Herbicides should be applied at recommended rates, as specified on the label. Over-application occurs when a higher than recommended rate of herbicide is applied. Herbicide deposits on already splashed stubble and other junk can harm developing yield seedlings upon contact.

On the off chance that creatures are given sustain that contains certain herbicide buildups, their fertilizer can contain these deposits. The utilization of numerous herbicides is prescribed inside exactly characterized phases of the yield’s development. Neglecting to make the application at the best possible stage may bring about plant harm. Revise application timings are illustrated on the name.

Pre-reap interims, as recorded on the name, give the required time after application to collect the yield. Some yield cultivars are more touchy than different cultivars to specific herbicides. Inconsistent tank blends can be harming to crops and not all herbicides can be combined. Name directions ought to dependably be taken after. Some critical ecological impacts are related with the over utilization of herbicides.

These incorporate unintended harms happening both on the showered site, and offsite. For instance, by changing the vegetation of treated locales, herbicide utilize additionally changes the natural surroundings of creatures, for example, well evolved creatures and flying creatures.

This is particularly valid for herbicides use in ranger service, because biodiverse, semi-normal natural surroundings are included. This is an aberrant impact of herbicide utilize, claiming it doesn’t include harmfulness caused to the creature by the herbicide.

By the by, the impacts can be extreme for a few animal categories. Frequently there is float of herbicide past the proposed shower site, and unintended, offsite harms might be caused to vegetation. There are likewise worries about the lethality of a few herbicides, which may influence individuals utilizing these chemicals throughout their occupation (i.e., when showering), individuals in a roundabout way uncovered through float or deposits on nourishment, and natural life.

An essential issue with applications is that non-particular herbicides influence numerous plants and creatures that are not weed the proposed focus of the treatment. This is particularly valid for herbicides, since they are dangerous to a wide assortment of plant species, and not only the weeds. Thusly, the communicate splashing of herbicides brings about wide exposures of non-bother species, which can cause a unintended yet generous mortality of non-target plants.

For instance, just a couple of types of plants in any rural field or ranger service ranch are sufficiently bottomless to fundamentally meddle with the efficiency of yield plants. Just these aggressive plants are weeds, and these are the main focus of herbicide application. Nonetheless, there are numerous other, non-bug types of plants in the field or manor that don’t meddle with the development of the harvest plants;

And these are additionally influenced by the herbicide, yet not to any profit as far as vegetation administration. Truth be told, particularly in ranger service, the non-target plants might be useful, by giving sustenance and living space to creatures, and anticipating disintegration and draining of supplements. A rundown of overall herbicide safe weeds displayed in the Table 2.

Table 2. Weed genera with the greatest number of resistant species worldwide (Prather et al., 2000).


Number of Occurrences














Weeds control to satisfactory level at which they don’t cause harm to crop, environment and human life is necessary for successful crop production. However, over use herbicides should be avoided. Significant increase crop yields by the adaptation of herbicides and is the key to greater adoption of fertilizer use, which will lead to even greater yields. Throughout the worldwide, for sustainable production, herbicides play a major role and will remain a basic need for weed control for many years in future.

Talha Javed and Ahmed Mukhtar

Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Corresponding author: talhajaved54321@gmail.com

By Talha Javed

I am working as Research Associate at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. My research directions are Seed Enhancement, Storage and Seed longevity.