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Monsanto Just Made a Massive Mistake

Monsanto Just Made a Massive Mistake

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/08/monsanto-mistake-dicambaA couple of weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had gotten an “unusually high number of reports of crop damage that appear related to misuse of herbicides containing the active ingredient dicamba.” Complaints of drooping and often dead crops appeared in no fewer than 10 states, the EPA reports. In Missouri alone, the agency says it has gotten 117 complaints “alleging misuse of pesticide products containing dicamba,” affecting more than 42,000 acres of crops, including peaches, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, rice, peas, peanuts, alfalfa, cotton, and soybeans.

The state’s largest peach farm, which lies near soybean-and-cotton country, has suffered massive and potentially permanent damage this year—and suspects dicamba drift as the culprit, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

The trouble appears to stem from decisions made by the Missouri-based seed and pesticide giant Monsanto. Back in April, the company bet big on dicamba, announcing a $975 million expansion of its production facility in Luling, Louisiana. The chemical is the reason the company launched its new Roundup Ready Xtend soybean and cotton seeds, genetically engineered to withstand both dicamba and Monsanto’s old flagship herbicide, glyphosate (brand name: Roundup). Within a decade, the company wrote, the new GM crops will proliferate from the US Midwest all the way to Brazil and points south, covering as much as 250 million acres of farmland (a combined land mass equal to about two and a half times the acreage of California)—and moving lots of dicamba.

The trouble is that farmers have been planting glyphosate-tolerant cotton and soybeans for years, and as a result, are dealing with a mounting tide of weeds that have evolved to resist that ubiquitous weed killer. So they jumped at the new seeds, and evidently began dousing crops with old dicamba formulations as a way to knock out those glyphosate-tolerant weeds. Oops. read more at motherjones.com