Pushing back against widespread dicamba injury to non-target plants, the two largest independent U.S. seed sellers, Beck’s Hybrids and Stine Seed, are encouraging the EPA to disallow farmers from applying Monsanto’s herbicide during summer months.
Dicamba is sprayed on Monsanto’s Xtend GM soybeans as a weed killer—but its volatility and drift potential caused an estimated 3.6 million acres of damage to non-resistant soybeans last summer. In 2018 damage decreased to one million acres, but homeowners, nurseries and other businesses had significant losses.
EPA regulators are evaluating the damage first-hand. A University of Wisconsin study confirmed damage from dicamba on non-resistant soybeans covered in plastic during spraying nearby.
Xtend soybeans are a major part of Monsanto’s soy domination worldwide, so a decision to limit dicamba would deal a huge blow. Monsanto is asking seed sellers to contact the EPA in support of dicamba to counter the “uninformed vocal minority” calling for restrictions.
CEO Harry Stine of Stine Seed says dicamba should not be sprayed on growing soybeans. “I’ve been doing this for 50 years and we’ve never had anything be as damaging as this dicamba situation,” he said. “In this case, Monsanto made an error.”
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