Monsanto Co is launching the first product that deactivates a controversial weed killer inside spraying equipment after it is used, the company said … its latest attempt to prevent unintended crop damage associated with the herbicide.
The product aims to stop farmers from accidentally applying traces of the herbicide, known as dicamba, on crops that cannot tolerate it when the chemical’s residue remains in spraying equipment.
Growers across the U.S. farm belt said last summer that dicamba herbicides, which are also sold by BASF SE and DowDuPont Inc, vaporized and drifted away from where they were sprayed on soybeans and cotton that Monsanto engineered to resist the chemical. This damaged millions of acres of other crops, triggering lawsuits against the manufacturers.
Monsanto has blamed much of last year’s field damage on improper applications, including by farmers who did not adequately clean spraying equipment. The company has said its dicamba-based herbicide is safe when used properly.
The product that deactivates dicamba will be launched in the coming weeks, as U.S. farmers advance crop plantings, said Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto’s dicamba portfolio lead.
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