The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency continues to allow farmers to spray crops with a controversial weedkiller, while tightening restrictions, the agency said.
EPA extended its approval of XtendiMax for two years, a version of herbicide dicamba made by
AG, as some farmers and researchers have blamed for harming millions of hectares of crops over the past two years.
The decision is a profit for Bayer, which also markets soybeans and cotton seeds genetically engineered to survive the chemical. Bayer has acquired American seeds and pesticides giant Monsanto this year, which in 2018 sold about 50 million hectares of dicambatolerant soybeans and cottonseed to farmers while training them how to spray herbicides and avoid damaging other crops.
“EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for US farmers,” says EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler.
For Bayer, EPA’s approval retains an estimated $ 159 million in profit from dicamba in 2019, according to Bernstein analyst. EPA will require new buffer zones and limit the hours the farmers are allowed to apply the spray to prevent it from running.
Monsanto began marketing XtendiMax after the first EPA approval at the end of 2016. The company put it as a way To stop weed resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide Monsanto marks Roundup. Dicamba, the most important ingredient in XtendiMax, has historically been inclined to drive.
Monsanto said that the new version of dicamba was much less inclined to operate. But some farmers and weed scientists blamed on dicamba for hundreds of injured fields. Monsanto officials brought most injured fields to farmers who sprinkled on windy days and other mistakes.
Researchers at the University of Missouri in July estimated 1.1 million hectares of soybeans affected this year, including 500,000 hectares in Illinois, the highest soybean producing state.
Write to Jacob Bunge at [email protected]