The USA’s environmental agency EPA has recently announced to ban spraying dicamba in American crops, due to the suggested damage in millions of square meters of valuable crop fields. The ban itself would be probably effective in H1 2018. The number of damaged soybean fields has accounted for about 3.5% of the national planting.
The damage of Syngenta’s developed, famous weed killer is claimed to occur on non-resistant crops which have been exposed to the herbicide due to drifting away from the original sprayed fields. This is caused by the volatility of the herbicide, which is even increased by higher temperatures.
According to Reuters, since the affected crops in the USA have not been harvested yet, the relation between dicamba and the vulnerable plants to it as well as the actual yield have not been studied yet. However, some EPA officials are pointing out, they will not accept another crop damage caused by dicamba in the USA in the next years.
As the affected crops are mostly soybean, some experts are suggesting to use dicamba only before the plants actually grow from the ground and get vulnerable.
In the year 2016, Pesticide and GM seed giant Monsanto released Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This GM seed is claimed to be tolerant to glyphosate as well as dicamba. However, the related herbicide was not approved by the EPA to that time. As a result, American farmers using the new seed illegally sprayed old dicamba-based herbicides on their crops. This caused severe damage to neighbouring farms, where crops and plants withered and died.
Dicamba is enjoying more popularity in many countries because it represents a good alternative as a herbicide to glyphosate, the most popular herbicide currently which is facing a growing number of resistant weeds. However, dicamba is also more toxic than glyphosate. Hence, dicamba is banned for using during the growing season of most crops.
What’s more Monsanto restricted test on vaporization for the newly launched dicamba containing herbicide for universities and researchers, which has caused further complaints.
Dicamba in China
While the future of dicamba in the USA is uncertain, Chinese enterprises are preparing for seizing market share. After all, China is the leading nation of producing dicamba technical. According to market intelligence firm CCM, the national output of dicamba increased by a higher CAGR than 47% from 2012 to 2016. However, most of China’s dicamba products are getting exported to the USA as the main export destination.
The demand in China is currently still low, due to the fact that most Chinese are sceptical for genetically modified crops. However, demand might get higher in China, because of the face-out of paraquat and the resulted need for a replacing herbicide.
Traditionally America is the major consuming region for dicamba nowadays. In the country, the herbicide it is widely used together with highly promoted GM crops. China’s exports of dicamba technical surged in recent years, due to the beneficial tax treatment of the industry and outstanding demand.
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