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EPA Limits Use Of Problematic Herbicide Dicamba

Nicole Erwin, Ohio Valley ReSource

  The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to some limits on the use of a controversial herbicide called dicamba, which farmers throughout the region have blamed for crop damage. A change to the label on the chemical will restrict sales of dicamba to certified users. 

Dicamba, which was formulated for use on a certain strain of genetically modified soybeans, has been linked to stunted growth or damage to other soybean crops not resistant to the herbicide technology.

A growing number of farmers have complained that the herbicide drifts from target fields after spraying, putting neighboring crops at risk.

Monsanto, a major manufacturer of Dicamba, asked the EPA to change the label on its “Xtendimax Vaporgrip” product to restricted use only.  

Vice president of global strategy Scott Partridge said this comes after 1200 Monsanto soybean growers called the company for help.

“We looked at the off-target movement and we looked at the lack of buffer zones or wrong nozzles and wrong boom height,” Partridge said. “What we realized very quickly was that all of those factors are solved by better training and better education.”

Partridge said that now only certified applicators can use the herbicide. State departments of agriculture will be tasked with training.

Credit Alexandra Kanik, Ohio Valley ReSource

  In an earlier report by the ReSource soybean farmers in the region reported more than 50,000 acres of crops affected by misuse of herbicide.

Credit Nicole Erwin, Ohio Valley ReSource
Jacob Goodman inspects a field of soybeans on his farm.

  One report connected the drifting spray to temperature inversions, which often occur overnight. 


The new label now restricts spraying to between dawn and dusk. Partridge said the company will also be giving out free spray nozzles to users.

Partridge said due to high demand, Monsanto expects to double the sale of the product during the 2018 harvest. 

Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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