Dicamba Disaster: Monsanto’s stillborn child?
Monsanto’s commercial success is based on the combination of seeds and herbicide. Millions of acres in the world are covered with Monsanto Roundup crops: soy, corn, D, canola, cotton, etc. Both seeds and the glyphosate herbicide are sold by Monsanto, bringing huge profits. However, weeds have grown resistance to Roundup and the commercial success is fading. A new generation of herbicides was supposed to counter this problem, but no new herbicide was found and instead they had to go back to an older and possibly even more toxic herbicide: dicamba. It was introduced in 1963 and Monsanto signed a deal for the production with BASF. Billions have been invested in testing and marketing the new dicamba resistant crops. Apart from its toxicity to plants, humans and soil, there is another problem: drift. The poison is taken by the wind and brings death or serious damage to trees and other crops that aren’t genetically modified to withstand dicamba. Many farmers have lost part of their crops. As a result, individual lawsuits and class action cases have been filed against BASF and Monsanto in more than two dozen US States. In 2016, dicamba drift damaged over 3,6 million acres (1,5 millions hectares) of crops in 25 states.
This could become a very costly affair for Monsanto. And worse for them, it could be a major setback for the chemical agriculture.