Use of illegal, older varieties of dicamba herbicide blamed for causing crop damage across 10 states

dicamba damage
Image Credit: Dan Charles/NPR
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For some farmers and weed scientists, puckered leaves on certain crops and other plants have become a familiar summertime sight — one that can suggest vapor from the weedkiller dicamba has moved through the air.

What many now refer to as “the D-word” is once again a topic of conversation…A question at the heart of the debate is whether dicamba — a decades-old chemical that has a tendency to evaporate, or volatize, and move off-target — can coexist on a broad scale with plants that are not genetically modified to tolerate it, without inflicting harm.

The debate has grown steadily since 2015, when a new variety of cotton kicked off Monsanto’s rollout of its “Xtend” seeds engineered to withstand dicamba — a herbicide lauded by the company and many farmers as a much-needed tool in the fight against Roundup-resistant “superweeds.” But new, less-volatile forms of dicamba spray had not yet been approved for use with the Xtend crops, creating a situation where some farmers are accused of illegally using older varieties of the chemical — a choice that…left surrounding farmers vulnerable to crop damage if volatization or physical drift occurred.

The University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences…says that as of mid-June, estimated damage affects more than 383,000 acres of soybeans across at least 10 states, including Missouri and Illinois. Trees, vegetables and specialty crops are also showing signs of injury this year.

Read full, original article: Reports of dicamba damage to crops are back again

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