Published: August 8, 2020

Category: Pesticide News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

The controversial herbicide dicamba continues to wreak havoc in the U.S. as reports of drift damage by the weedkiller continue to mount and weeds are already becoming resistant to it.

More than 60 million acres of dicamba tolerant GMO cotton and soybeans were planted this year, and dicamba use in U.S. agriculture is near record heights this year.

  • Dicamba and another drift-prone herbicide, 2,4-D, are causing widespread damage to trees, native plants and natural areas across the Midwest and South.
  • Over 60 areas managed by the Illinois DNR report thin canopies, dieback, dead oaks and hickory trees due to dicamba drift.
  • Iowa State University agronomist Bob Hartzler wrote a blog, stating: “There is no question that dicamba injury across the Iowa landscape in 2020 is the most extensive it has been since the introduction of dicamba in the 1960s.”
  • In Minnesota, the state’s Department of Agriculture had received 76 complaints alleging crop damage caused by the herbicide dicamba, as of July 14.
  • In Tennessee, the destructive, fast-growing weed, palmer amaranth or “pigweed,” has developed resistance to dicamba in at least five counties in western Tennessee and likely several others according to University of Tennessee weed specialist Larry Steckel.
  • Some scientists and farmers in the Midwest are noting a decline in the efficacy of dicamba on Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.

Meanwhile, the legal fight over dicamba also continues. On June 3, the US Court of Appeals overturned the approval of dicamba products used on soybeans. The court ruling was ignored by many state regulatory agencies and the EPA.

Makers of the dicamba products, Bayer, BASF and Corteva Agriscience, are challenging the court ruling. Whether they succeed remains to be seen.

Sources: The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Iowa State University, Food and Environment Reporting Network, Progressive Farmer

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