By vast

Published: October 4, 2018

Category: Dicamba Disaster, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Drift damage from dicamba herbicide continues to grow nationwide along with similar problems from 2,4-D herbicide. Drift is damaging crops, vineyards, orchards, and historic trees in many states.

In Texas, dicamba and 2,4-D are causing massive damage to grape vineyards. After almost 30 years of growing grape vines, Texas grower Bobby Cox’s efforts collapsed in 2016. 2,4-D drifted to his acres, killing 20 percent of the crop along with major yield losses. Grape vines take years to reach maturity—so losses are immense.

Dicamba and 2,4-D are being used with soybean and cotton crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate the two herbicides.

Dan Smith is a cotton farmer whose herbicide spray damaged Andis Applewhite’s vineyards near Lockney, Texas. He increased his GM cotton acres to 5,000 to maintain profitability, but needed high-powered weed killers to harvest them. In 2013 he was forced to replace Roundup with dicamba. He tried to follow the extensive application guidelines carefully, but the damage still occurred.

According to University of Missouri recent stats, dicamba is responsible for one million acres of damage to various crops nationwide.

In Illinois, dicamba is damaging peach and apple trees at a family orchard. Jeff Flamm, owner of Flamm Orchards, says that hundreds of his peach trees have been damaged. He says he’s never seen so many curled up, brown leaves in 40 years.

But the damage goes beyond brown leaves and potentially dead trees. What looked like a great apple crop has left the Flamms disappointed with apples that are smaller than expected.

“You can figure, if you lose a quarter of inch in diameter, it probably relates to about a 20 to 25 percent loss in volume,” Jeff said.

In Tennessee, 200-year-old cypress trees that line the lake at Blue Bank Resort have been damaged by dicamba drift from nearby soybean and cotton fields.

“The problem with dicamba is, there’s so much money behind it,” says Mike Hayes, owner of the resort. “I’ve never seen so many people run from a problem so bad in my life. It really hurts to lose what we’re about to lose.”

From Mississippi to Illinois, people have noticed trees or other kinds of wild vegetation that show signs of damage from dicamba. The Environmental Protection Agency has to decide whether farmers should be allowed to continue using this weedkiller. The agency’s previous approval expires at the end of the year.

Sources: National Public Radio

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