Meet Monsanto's Other Herbicide Problem...

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier this year we wrote about a series of court documents that were unsealed and seemingly revealed a startling effort on the part of both Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work in concert to kill and/or discredit independent, albeit inconvenient, cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) related to their key herbicidal product, RoundUp.  The efforts to kill the research came even as Monsanto's own lead toxicologist, Donna Farmer, admitted that she "cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer" because "[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup" (see: Monsanto Colluded With EPA, Was Unable To Prove Roundup Does Not Cause Cancer, Unsealed Court Docs Reveal).

But, as Reuters points out today, RoundUp isn't the only Monsanto herbicide causing outrage in the ag community these days as state regulators all across the country say they're being flooded with reports from farmers that Dicamba, Monsanto's other herbicide, is increasingly becoming airborne and killing crops far away from the fields where they were actually applied.

U.S. farmers have overwhelmed state governments with thousands of complaints about crop damage linked to new versions of weed killers, threatening future sales by manufacturers Monsanto Co (MON.N) and BASF SE (BASFn.DE).

 

Monsanto is banking on weed killers using a chemical known as dicamba - and seeds engineered to resist it - to dominate soybean production in the United States, the world’s second-largest exporter.

 

The United States has faced a weed-killer crisis this year caused by the new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed experts say have harmed crops because they evaporate and drift away from where they are applied.

Regulators in several major soybean-growing states, including Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois, each say they received roughly four years’ worth of complaints about possible pesticide damage to crops this year due to dicamba use.

Now agriculture officials face long backlogs of cases to investigate, which are driving up costs for lab tests and overtime. Several states had to reassign employees to handle the load.

 

“We don’t have the staff to be able to handle 400 investigations in a year plus do all the other required work,” said Paul Bailey, director of the Plant Industries division of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

 

In Missouri, farmers filed about 310 complaints over suspected dicamba damage, on top of the roughly 80 complaints about pesticides the state receives in a typical year, he said.

 

Nationwide, states launched 2,708 investigations into dicamba-related plant injury by Oct. 15, according to data compiled by the University of Missouri.

Of course, Monsanto has bet on dicamba-tolerant soybeans to replace those that withstand glyphosate, the key ingredient in RoundUp, because it has become less effective over the years as weeds develop resistance...and because of that pesky European research which suggests the product causes cancer.

The problem is that if you're not planting dicamba-resistant soybean seeds then you could quickly find yourself among the growing list of Monsanto's spray drift victims....so you better buy Monsanto seeds...see how that works?

Of course, Monsanto has decided to simply blame spray companies saying that the "herbicides are safe when properly applied."

Monsanto and BASF say the herbicides are safe when properly applied. They need to convince regulators after the flood of complaints to state agriculture departments.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year approved use of the weed killers on dicamba-resistant crops during the summer growing season. Previously, farmers used dicamba to kill weeds before they planted seeds, and not while the crops were growing.

 

However, the EPA approved such use only until Nov. 9, 2018, because “extraordinary precautions” are needed to prevent dicamba products from tainting vulnerable crops, a spokesman told Reuters in a statement last week. The agency wanted to be able to step in if there were problems, he said.

 

Next year, the EPA will determine whether to extend its approval by reviewing damage complaints and consulting with state and industry experts. States are separately considering new restrictions on usage for 2018.

In conclusion, with Dicamba usage up for regulatory review, it seems that it may be time for Monsanto execs to start pulling some strings at the EPA again...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ThinkAgain's picture

Aside from their pesticide problems: patents on crops deliver dead ended streets in crop innovation. The breeder's right model (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_breeders%27_rights) has delivered the green revolution: building innovation on innovation possible. In the patent model this can't be done. It's the end of crop innovation.

Another huge issue is squeezing biodiversity to below minimums. Really these guys gamble with global food supply.

See http://www.planck.org/publications/Global-Seed-Cartels-Are-Wrong.

ThinkAgain's picture

Regarding regulating/controling quality (also called: independence) of government towards Monsanto see https://www.google.com/search?q=revolving+door+monsanto. Bought and paid for. The whole 9 yards and beyond. Similar in science. Money is magic: it does miracles: it changes facts.

skipweston's picture

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam ? Fifty-five years ago this month, the U.S. Army began spraying millions of gallons of the toxic defoliant known as Agent Orange over large swaths of southern Vietnam. To this day, the views on Monsanto’s involvement in Agent Orange vary greatly. Both the United States and Monsanto have issued statements indicating that the chemical was made at the behest of the U.S. government. Monsanto has therefore claimed that it bears no direct responsibility.

Here at Monsanto we want the American Citizens to know we've tested our products on large human sample groups the Vietnamese people. Our tests proved that Agent Orange and the weaker version of Agent Orange "Round-UP" are perfectly safe for humans.

Solio's picture

It's a death culture, you know.

hola dos cola's picture

Come on, people. Sue them outof existence. See what you can do and put in some effort, please!

 

Manipuflation's picture

Then you will starve if you win.  I guess you will just go to the grocery store then.  Good luck to you.

hola dos cola's picture

No. The competition will come up with a better alternative.

There's no incentive because of the 'bought' monopoly. Once their dominance is weakened (START SUEING, PEOPLE!) others will have a chance to come to the market with their improved products.

hola dos cola's picture

AND.... if cancer research gets involved from the very start of re-innovating those products you'll not only end up with a better (SAFER!) product but cancer research itself will be able to advance itself on that research and with the means needed for that. Maybe they'll even find something they were looking for ;-)

But such cooperation cannot be trusted to function properly if Monsanto, BASF or Bayer are 'boss-ing' the researchers.

Solution: SUE those companies so the judge can order them to pay for a fund to further the cause, not to obfuscate the DANGER.

Manipuflation's picture

You have much more to worry about in ag than just chemicals.  I have some really bad news for you.

Manipuflation's picture

Anyone could say the exact same about overprescription of anti-biotics by "doctors".(paid salesman)  If you think Monsanto is the big player you need to do more research.  How about Dupont?

Anyone remember Dupont's Imprelis from just a few years back?  I had to deal with that fiasco and I was not even part or parcel to it.

BarbaricRelic's picture

Keep in mind that it's because of pesticides we have a stable food supply. When was the last time anyone was actually in danger of a famine or starving? Why? Modern Ag. science and the implementation of the information it discovered.

Also, Dicamba has been around for ages. It's just how it's being applied is the problem due to dicamba resistant crops. Farmers just need to do a better job of application.

how_this_stuff_works's picture

" Farmers just need to do a better job of application."

Damn weather. The least it could do is cooperate.

BarbaricRelic's picture

That's why you read weather reports and/or look outside before applying. hurrr

Yellow Zookaninnie's picture

Keep in mind that Russia's ag sector is booming YOY and they don't allow that GMO shit. USA famine could happen any time now. GIGO.

hola dos cola's picture

Where's Jimmy?

-Jimmy is at home. He's sick. He has a stomach bleed.

That's gross. Do you know what happened?

-Jimmy and his mom and dad went to the countryside last weekend. He said he forgot to take his Bayer-pill.

Bayer-pill? What's that?

-If you leave the city, you have to take a Bayer-pill. It protects you against the crops. But those pills are really expensive and so we don't go to the countryside no more.

Well, hope Jimmy get's well soon.

Solio's picture

The kids just can't get a break; bha (or is it bht?) in the packaging, pesti/herbicides on the sport fields, poison on most food, poisons in the water, heavy metals in the air, vocs in the air from the leaking gas/oil well...what's a parent to do?

 

Apparently, nothing.

hola dos cola's picture

Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work in concert to kill and/or discredit independent, albeit inconvenient, cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) related to their key herbicidal product, RoundUp.  The efforts to kill the research came even as Monsanto's own lead toxicologist, Donna Farmer, admitted that she "cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer" because "[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup" (see: Monsanto Colluded With EPA, Was Unable To Prove Roundup Does Not Cause Cancer, Unsealed Court Docs Reveal).

So, they spray toxins on people their food that kills organisms but it doesn't get tested for causing cancer because they not only take over 'the hood' but buy the 'authorities' as well.

That's more than negligent.

Sue!

NumbersUsa's picture

A Must for true historical relevancy to be had : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrKaDpn80SI