SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota farmers are reporting crops devastated by herbicide drift.
Farmers believe the herbicide to be dicamba, which is used for weed control. Three dicamba products — Engenia, FeXapan and Xtendimax — are registered for use on dicamba-tolerant soybean plants in the state.
State Department of Agriculture official Tom Gere said more than 150 farmers have reported suspected damage from the herbicide within the first week of the department opening surveys to farmers. The department was still accepting reports Tuesday, the Argus Leader reported .
“We’ve had like four come in since lunch time,” Gere said Tuesday. “It’s significant.”
Gere said the department doesn’t know yet whether it would ban the Monsanto herbicides or discontinue their registrations for 2018. Dicamba has been banned in Arkansas and reviewed by U.S. regulators over concerns it can drift or vaporize and move.
Weeds field specialist Gared Shaffer said farmers have been using dicamba since the 1950s, but Monsanto started recently selling soybean varieties genetically altered to withstand dicamba.
The herbicide has been known to cause cupping and veining symptoms in plants that are intolerant of it. Soybean farmer Al Krutsinger said his plants’ leaves have cupped and wrinkled. He’s reported it to the state, saying he’s worried what this could mean for his harvest.
“It’s hard to make a living already and if they won’t take your beans, I just can’t imagine,” he said. “Nobody’s talking about it. Nobody’s even brought it up.”
Farmers nationwide have said the herbicide’s directions are too complicated to understand, and they end up with dicamba drift because of faulty applications and failure to abide by buffer zones.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com