After being linked to the damage of soybean and other crops throughout the US farm belt, the herbicide dicamba is prohibited to be sprayed in Arkansas by April 15 of next year. Monsanto Co., a seller of dicamba, filed a petition requesting Arkansas officials to refuse the said date of banning the herbicide.
Discontinued use of dicamba was proposed as protection to crops that are vulnerable to the chemical. Specialists claim that the weed killers, such as dicamba, are dangerous to use because they have a tendency to vaporize and diffuse throughout the fields. Moreover, this tendency of vaporization increases with increasing ambient temperature.
Monsanto, on the other hand, claims that the proposed date “is not based on scientific data, much less on any scientific consensus” on crop damage brought about by dicamba. The company also questioned the objectivity of the weed specialists Jason Norsworthy and Ford Baldwin, who encouraged the prohibition of dicamba use. It further claimed and submitted an affidavit that Baldwin is a consultant for Bayer Corp Science, who in turn manufactures a competing herbicide called glufosinate.
Bayer, who plans to acquire Monsanto, communicates with Reuters stating that Baldwin and Norsworthy “are two of the preeminent weed scientists in the country.” Bayer spokesman Jeff Donald further said, “Their voices along with other scientists are critical to ensuring sound science that supports the regulatory system.”