Wednesday, 19 January, 2022

Pressures in the US for a control of dicamba, a Monsanto herbicide

The two main independent seed sellers in the United States are asking the federal authorities to ban the use during the summer of dicamba, a herbicide developed by Monsanto, the company acquired by Bayer. Beck’s Hybrids and Stine Seed have approached the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict the use of dicamba in the spring, before sowing.

Along with dicamba, Monsanto offers US soybean producers modified seeds capable of resisting this herbicide. But farmers and agronomists claim that dicamba has the disadvantage of evaporating and drifting in the air to affect crops that have not been modified to resist its action.

Accidental spread

Last summer, this accidental spread of dicamba to fields planted with unmodified soybean seed reached some 1.46 million hectares, or 4% of total cultivated agricultural land. The problem recurred this year, with the University of Missouri estimating that as of July 15, 400,000 hectares of unmodified soybean crops were affected by dicamba.

Monsanto believes for its part that these accidental propagations are linked to a misuse of dicamba by farmers and ensures that the mandatory training implemented this year has improved things. EPA is to determine in the near future whether to grant an extension of its approval to dicamba, which expires this fall.

In a July 27 letter to the EPA, which Reuters has procured, Beck’s Hybrids CEO Sonny Beck believes that most complaints about the accidental spread of dicamba would cease if the herbicide were not allowed only before crops are planted.

If the EPA follows up on their request, Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $ 63 billion, will have a hot new case to deal with after Monsanto was ordered last week to pay $ 289 million in compensation. to Dewayne Johnson, a gardener who suffered cancer after using Roundup, St. Louis’ flagship herbicide.

(With Reuters)

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