Dicamba Drift-Related Crop Damage

What is Dicamba?

Roundup, the herbicide of choice in the U.S. for years, has been sprayed by farmers to the point that some weeds are now “super weeds” because they have become resistant to glyphosate, Roundup’s primary chemical. As a result, many farmers have turned to dicamba to kill these new superweeds, which now affect more than two-thirds of U.S. farm acres.

Dicamba is a selective, systemic, and plant growth regulator herbicide used to control pre-emergence and post-emergence broadleaf weeds in corn and a variety of other food and feed crops. In 2016, the United States of Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) conditionally approved the post-emergence use of certain new dicamba products on dicamba tolerant (“DT”) soybeans. Previously, dicamba was registered for only pre-plant and pre-harvest applications to non-DT soybeans.


What are the Problems With Dicamba?

Dicamba is a highly volatile chemical that can damage non-target plant species through spray drift and volatilization. Misuse of dicamba products may cause unintended impacts such as serious damage to non-DT soybeans, other sensitive crops, and non-crop plants.

In order to combat the growing problem of Roundup resistant superweeds, Monsanto developed new strains of soybeans and cotton that would be resistant to dicamba. The EPA, however, had serious concerns about Monsanto’s proposed new uses for dicamba, because it had long been known to be highly volatile and uncontrollable.

The EPA delayed approval of the new dicamba for years due to its concerns about the chemical’s tendency for off-site movement and the significant harm that it might pose to farmers. In late 2016, it approved three new formulations of dicamba for the 2017 growing season — XtendiMax (manufactured by Monsanto), Engenia (manufactured by BASF), and Fexapan (manufactured by Dupont). These dicamba formulations, however, were introduced to the market without independent rigorous testing and now millions of acres of farms have been damaged as a result.

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What Are The Signs of Crops Damaged by Dicamba

Dicamba is more powerful than glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup, which farmers used before superweeds developed. Farms not planted with crops genetically modified to resist dicamba are extremely vulnerable to damage from the herbicide. According to the Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, signs that plants have been damaged by dicamba include:

  • Twisted and crinkled leaves
  • Downward cupping on leaves
  • Narrow, strap-like leaves on the youngest growth
  • Above-ground roots on the stems of certain annual flowers

There have been reports of dicamba-related crop damage in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. According to a University of Missouri survey, dicamba damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of soybeans across 25 states last year when it drifted from farms planted with seeds genetically engineered to resist the chemical onto regular soybean fields. Moreover, other important crops such as tomatoes, pumpkins, and fruits have also been damaged by dicamba.

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When you hire an attorney from Meshbesher & Spence, you will not pay any attorney fees until you receive compensation. In the event that you do not recover compensation for your damages, you owe us nothing. This kind of pay structure is called a “contingent fee agreement”.

Why Choose Meshbesher & Spence?

The attorneys of Meshbesher & Spence have been representing families in crisis for over 50 years. Our skilled litigators are experienced in personal injury, mass tort, class action, and agricultural tort claims. If your crops have suffered dicamba drift-related damage, please contact Meshbesher & Spence. Federal crop insurance won’t cover the losses that result from chemical drift and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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