EPA Allows Farmers to Keep Using Dicamba

Wall Street Journal writer Jacob Bunge reported yesterday that, “The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to allow farmers to spray crops with a controversial weedkiller, while tightening restrictions, the agency said.

“The EPA extended by two years its approval of XtendiMax, a version of the herbicide dicamba made by Bayer AG, which some farmers and researchers have blamed for damaging millions of acres of crops over the past two years.

The decision is a win for Bayer, which also markets soybean and cotton seeds genetically engineered to survive the chemical. Bayer this year acquired U.S. seed and pesticide giant Monsanto, which in 2018 sold about 50 million acres’ worth of dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton seeds to farmers while training them how to spray the herbicide and avoid damaging other crops.”

Mr. Bunge noted that, “Monsanto said its new version of dicamba was far less prone to drift. But some farmers and weed scientists blamed dicamba for hundreds of damaged fields. Monsanto officials attributed the vast majority of harmed fields to farmers spraying on windy days and other errors.

University of Missouri researchers in July estimated 1.1 million acres of soybeans were affected this year, including 500,000 acres in Illinois, the top soybean-producing state.”

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