The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering banning use of the herbicide dicamba after the chemical reportedly damaged other crops by drifting into areas neighboring sprayed fields, Reuters reports.
The ban could be implemented sometime in 2018, and would cut into the profits of Monsanto, which sells agricultural goods internationally, and DuPont, a science and engineering company that operates around the world.
A task force in Arkansas is advising the state to create an April 15 cutoff date for dicamba application. The EPA may consider something similar.
“If the EPA imposed a April 15 cut-off date for dicamba spraying, that would be catastrophic for Xtend – it invalidates the entire point of planting it,” Bernstein analyst Jonas Oxgaard told Reuters.
Dicamba resistant soybeans are twice the price of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans, so neutralizing the benefits of planting Xtend soybeans would effectively kill the market. Monsanto would lose between $400 million and $800 million in potential profit off herbicide sales, according to Reuters.
Since farmers began treating the new strains of soybean with the chemical, many have complained about dicamba drifting into other fields during the application process and harming or killing soybeans without the Xtend trait.
Monsanto blames dicamba’s damage to other crops on farmers not administering the herbicide properly. Farmers, however, have said the instructions on the label are unreasonably complex, according to Reuters.
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