Missouri Ag Director: Misused Dicamba Ultimately Fault of Farmers08/08/2016
The head of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, which is investigating more than 100 dicamba crop injury reports in southeast Missouri, says the blame ultimately lies with farmers who improperly applied the herbicide.
Ag Director Richard Fordyce, a farmer himself, tells Brownfield the Monsanto dicamba-resistant seed products are “great technologies.” He tells Brownfield Ag News, “The RoundUp Ready2Xtend soybeans and the Bollgard2Xtend cotton varieties really had been market ready for maybe three years. You know, it was determined that, not only do they have dicamba resistance, but these varieties actually have better performance in the field.”
Some growers who planted those seeds used off-label dicamba, leading to drift and neighboring crop damage. Fordyce points out those new seed products were released without the corresponding, less volatile herbicide technologies that have not yet received EPA approval.
When they are finally approved, Fordyce says, farmers will still need to take care, “We will be applying technologies that are different than what we’ve been doing in the past. And so there still needs to be – after approval there still needs to be a fairly high level of care when applying.”
Fordyce says his department is conducting thorough investigations into the damage, taking tissue samples and doing interviews. Fines can range from a warning letter to as much as $1,000 per incident.