Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Monsanto's unapproved herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds blamed for damaging soybean crops

Monsanto's newest herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds, now on store shelves, despite not yet being approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, are being blamed for leading to damaged soybean crops, Dan Charles reports for NPR. Xtend is immune to the herbicide dicamba, which is known for vaporizing quickly and blowing with the wind. Dicamba is "especially toxic to soybeans, even at ridiculously low concentrations."

The EPA has not yet approved the new dicamba weedkiller, which Monsanto says "has been formulated so that it won't vaporize as easily, and won't be as likely to harm neighboring crops," Charles writes. "But, Monsanto went ahead and started selling its dicamba-resistant soybeans before this herbicide was approved. It gave farmers a new weed-killing tool that they couldn't legally use. Monsanto says it did so because these seeds weren't just resistant to dicamba; they also offered higher yields, which farmers wanted."

Even though Monsanto says it has "made it clear to farmers that they were not allowed to spray dicamba on these dicamba-resistant beans," some fear farmers are using it for that exact purpose, Charles writes. Suspected use of the herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds damaging crops has led to more than 100 farmers in Missouri and 25 in Arkansas filing formal complaints with their state Department of Agriculture. Bob Scott, a weed specialist from the University of Arkansas, told Charles, "I've never seen anything like this before. This is a unique situation that Monsanto created."

No comments: