Controversial herbicide dicamba damaging some non-GMO soybean research plots in Midwest

| | July 22, 2019
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Soybean leaf damaged by dicamba drift. Image: DTN/Emily Unglesbee)
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Something strange is happening to Pengyin Chen‘s soybean experiments at the University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo.

“You see how small they are?” says Chen, gesturing at a field filled with thousands of small plots of soybeans.

Chen, a professor of soybean breeding and genetics, has a pretty good idea what’s going on. He’s seen this damage each of the past three years, ever since farmers all around this research station — and across the country — started planting a different version of soybeans. The biotech company Monsanto had genetically modified these new soybeans so that they tolerate a herbicide called dicamba. It allows farmers to spray dicamba on their soybeans; it kills the weeds, but their dicamba-tolerant crop is fine.

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The company Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, says dicamba doesn’t cause problems when people use it properly, following all the rules. In an email to NPR, the company wrote that it is aware of the damage at Pengyin Chen’s research plots at the University of Missouri. The company suggested that perhaps the damage resulted from nearby farmers spraying an older, unauthorized version of the chemical.

Read full, original article: Rogue Weedkiller Vapors Are Threatening Soybean Science

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