By Ken Roseboro

Published: January 30, 2018

Category: The Non-GMO Blog

Kathy Dice and Tom Wahl, owners of Red Fern Farm, with one of their chestnut trees.

Drift from dicamba herbicide damaged chestnut trees grown by an Iowa farmer last fall. Tom Wahl, owner of Red Fern Farm in Wapello, Iowa said drift damage was widespread over 14 acres of chestnut trees. The drift came from a soybean farm that is southwest of his farm about one-quarter of a mile away.

Production was 1000 pounds less than expected
“The drift would have to pass through pasture and a dense forest,” he says.
Wahl saw leaf curling, a visible symptom of dicamba drift damage, on one-third of his trees.
Dicamba is used with new genetically modified soybeans developed by Monsanto. The herbicide is prone to drifting; it turns from a liquid to a gas and can travel for miles damaging “off-target” crops.
Fortunately, Wahl’s chestnut trees didn’t die but they produced much less than he expected.
“I was expecting a significant increase in production to 8000 pounds but it was 1000 pounds less,” he said. “Dicamba had to at least been contributing factor to our reduced yield.”
Wahl was one of many farmers in 25 states reporting damage from dicamba. An estimated 3.6 million acres was affected including soybeans, fruits, vegetables, and trees such as Wahl’s.

Convincing evidence linking dicamba “to health problems along with drift problems”
Several states including Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and Minnesota announced they will place restrictions on the use of dicamba.
Monsanto aims to sell enough dicamba resistant GM soybean seed to cover 40 million acres this year, which is twice as many acres as in 2017.
Wahl thinks dicamba should be banned.
“All phenoxy herbicides (which includes dicamba and 2,4-D) should have been banned when 2,4,5-T (the main herbicide in Agent Orange) was banned. There is very convincing evidence linking them to health problems along with drift problems,” he says.

About the Author

Ken Roseboro

Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. He has written extensively about GM foods and the non-GMO trend since 1999. Ken’s articles have appeared in leading food and agriculture publications and websites such as Civil Eats, Harvest Public Media, Prepared Foods, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Food Processing, as well as The Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Mother Earth News, and others. He is a contributing editor to EcoWatch. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook both published by Basic Health Publications. He has spoken at many conferences including Natural Products Expo West, Acres USA Conference, The Organic Farming Conference, National Heirloom Seed Expo, and others. Ken is a member of the design team of the Non-GMO Supply Working Group and a founding member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. Ken also serves on the board of directors of Soil Technologies Corporation. He appears in the award-winning documentary film, GMO OMG. In 2006, Ken received an Award of Merit from Seed Savers Exchange for his efforts to preserve genetic diversity through his publications.