The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled new restrictions on the use of dicamba, a weedkiller that has caused widespread crop damage in Missouri and other Midwestern states for the past two years.
The EPA said in a statement on Friday that certain dicamba formulations will be classified as a restricted-use pesticide, which means only certified pesticide applicators, or people under their supervision, will be allowed to spray it onto crops during the 2018 growing season.
The only formulations to which the new rules apply are those manufactured by Monsanto and BASF to be sprayed over Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant crops, an EPA spokesman said. DuPont sells Monsanto’s formulation under its own brand name.
The EPA has been conferring with weed scientists and state regulators to decide how dicamba should be regulated during the 2018 growing season.
Monsanto and BASF have said their latest dicamba formulations were designed to be less volatile. But farmers reported more damage from migrating dicamba in 2017, the first year the two new formulations were available, than during the previous two years, when some farmers illegally sprayed older, more volatile versions of dicamba onto Monsanto’s new dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans.