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Monsanto expected farmer complaints when it released drift-prone herbicide dicamba, court documents show

| | January 31, 2020
dicamba damage
A soybean plant damaged by dicamba. Image: Mark Loux/ Ohio State University Extension
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Monsanto expected thousands of farmers to complain about its new weedkiller drifting and harming their crops when it launched the new dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton cropping systems, documents presented in federal court on [Jan. 29] show.

“We anticipated it might happen,” said Dr. Boyd Carey, regional agronomy lead at Bayer Crop Science, which bought Monsanto in 2018. Carey oversaw the claims process for Monsanto’s 2017 launch of the new herbicide. Carey testified [Jan. 29] in a trial of a civil lawsuit filed by Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in Missouri, against Bayer and BASF.

Bader Farms, which says it is no longer a sustainable business because off-target movement of dicamba harmed its orchards, alleges that the companies intentionally created the problem in order to increase profits.

Related article:  Monsanto's GMO soybean 'safe as conventional counterpart,' EU expert panel confirms

Monsanto developed the new technology after an increasing number of weeds developed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate (also called Roundup) ….

In an October 2015 document, Monsanto projected that farmers would file thousands of complaints in each of the next five years. At that time, Monsanto was projecting that its weedkiller would be available for the 2016 growing season, but it was not approved by the U.S. EPA until the 2017 growing season.

Still, the complaint projection proved accurate.

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