As ‘Dicamba drift’ crop damage declines, will EPA re-approve controversial herbicide?

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A farmer displays a soybean plant that shows signs of being affected by dicamba.

The world’s largest agribusiness expects the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce a renewal and an updated label for the herbicide dicamba in the coming weeks.

Following high drift and volatility complains in 2017, Bayer claims those numbers are lower this season thanks to mandatory training and spraying restrictions.

“We knew that training was key,” says Bob Reiter, new head of Research and Development for the Crop Science division of Bayer. “Helping growers to use the product in the right way makes all the difference in the world.”

According to  Bayer, by August this season there were 13 complaints per million acres of seed. That compares to 99 per million acres last year.

According to Dr. Kevin Bradley, professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri, state departments of agriculture were investigating 605 reports of dicamba-related injury as of mid-July. That compares to 1,411 complaints at the same time last year. University researchers estimate the 2018 complaints involve 1.1 million acres.

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Can biofortified GMO soybeans help tackle vitamin A deficiency?

Not all of agriculture is rallying behind the technology. Beck’s Hybrids has recently taken the position that dicamba should only be allowed as a pre-plant application. It says the controversy has the potential to do more harm than good.

While Bayer executives say 2018 should speak for itself in terms results, ultimately the decision will be made [by the EPA] in Washington.

Read full, original article: Bayer Anticipates Dicamba Label Decision Soon

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