Minnesota joins U.S. states limiting
controversial farm chemical
Send a link to a friend
[December 13, 2017]
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Minnesota became the
latest U.S. state on Tuesday to restrict controversial weed killers made
by Monsanto Co and BASF SE that were linked to widespread crop damage,
while Arkansas took a step back from imposing new limits.
The United States has faced an agricultural crisis this year caused by
new versions of the herbicides, which are based on a chemical known as
dicamba. Farmers and weed experts say the products harm crops that
cannot resist dicamba because the herbicides evaporate and drift away
from where they are applied, a process known as volatilization.
Monsanto and BASF say the products are safe when used properly.
Monsanto is banking on its dicamba-based herbicide and soybean seeds
engineered to resist it, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production in
the United States, the world’s second-largest exporter.
However, Minnesota will prohibit summertime sprayings of dicamba-based
herbicides after June 20 in a bid to prevent a repeat of damage seen
across the U.S. farm belt this year, according to the state's
Farmers also will not be able to apply dicamba-based herbicides if
temperatures top 85 degrees Fahrenheit because research shows high
temperatures increase crop damage from volatilization, according to
"We will be closely monitoring the herbicide's performance with these
restrictions in 2018," said Dave Frederickson, Minnesota's agriculture
[to top of second column]
U.S. farmers planted 90 million acres of soybeans this year, and
about 4 percent showed signs of damage linked to dicamba, according
to University of Missouri data.
Missouri and North Dakota have separately announced deadlines for
spraying dicamba-based herbicides next year.
In Arkansas, a legislative panel advised a state plant board to
review its proposal to ban the use of dicamba herbicides after April
15, in a win for the agri-chemical companies.
The panel recommended that the board consider scientific-based
evidence among other factors to revise the proposal, the state said.
Monsanto believes there is no scientific evidence to support cutoff
dates for spraying dicamba herbicides, said Scott Partridge, vice
president of global strategy.
"They have essentially hit the pause button here," Partridge said
Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG for $63.5 billion, has
sued Arkansas to prevent the state from prohibiting sprayings after
The company and BASF have said that proposal would hurt Arkansas
growers by denying them access to products designed to be sprayed on
dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton during the summer growing
(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.