Missouri Farmer files Dicamba case against Monsanto

DTN Crops Technology Editor Pam Smith reported on Monday that, “Bill Bader stood during a question-and-answer session at a Bootheel dicamba forum last July and told how drift from the herbicide had clobbered his orchard for the past two years. Bader, the largest peach grower in the state of Missouri, has now made another statement by filing a lawsuit against Monsanto Company over the losses.

“Bader Farms, Inc., et al v. Monsanto Company, Case No. 16DU-CC00111 alleges the St. Louis-based firm knowingly marketed its dicamba-tolerant Xtend cotton and soybean seeds to farmers without a safe herbicide for use. The lawsuit was filed by the Kansas City law firm, Randles & Splittgerber LLP, on behalf of Bader Farms, Inc. and Bill Bader, individually in Dunklin County, Missouri.”

The DTN article explained that, “Dicamba-tolerant cotton, broadly known as Xtend, was planted in 2015 and 2016 without a registered herbicide to use over-the-top. Xtend soybeans came to market for the first time in 2016, but again the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to register an approved herbicide to use in-crop on the trait in time for use this season. Problems emerged when farmers reached for existing dicamba formulations such as Banvel and Clarity and those applications drifted onto sensitive crops. Extension weed specialists have told DTN that movement from volatility was one issue, but damage also resulted from physical particle drift.

The Missouri Bootheel was the hot bed for damage complaints. Sarah Alsager, Missouri Department of Agriculture spokesperson, told DTN that the department received 124 dicamba-related complaints in 2016. All investigations are currently open, Alsager said. Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi also registered dicamba injury complaints.”

With respect to Monsanto, the DTN article stated in part that, “Monsanto spokesman Kyel Richard provided a prepared statement to DTN with regard to the Bader lawsuit. The company statement noted that: ‘Both prior to and throughout the 2016 season, Monsanto took many steps to remind growers, dealers and applicators that dicamba was not approved for in-crop use at the time, and we do not condone the illegal use of any pesticide…‘”

Ms. Smith added that, “In November, EPA approved a DGA (same salt as Clarity) based formulation for use in the Xtend crop system that Monsanto claims is lower in volatility. The XtendiMax with VaporGrip label comes with a long list of spray requirements such as specific nozzles, wind-speed limits and tank-mix limitations [more details here].”

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