Reports of off-target crop damage from the weed killer dicamba are higher in Missouri this year than they were at the same time last year, according to state agriculture officials.
Some 112 complaints have been made so far this year, up from 98 at the same point last year, according to Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Those complaints cover 17,000 acres of soybeans and 500 acres of peaches and residential trees.
Meanwhile, the University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences, which tracks dicamba issues nationally, said that as of mid-June, estimated damage from dicamba had struck 383,000 acres of soybeans in at least 10 states.
Dicamba and the alleged damage resulting from it drifting off target have been prominent issues in the state’s agriculture community over the last few years. Last year, it prompted a new law in Missouri that increases penalties for illegal herbicide use.
The debate has turned farmers against other farmers and wrought tension between university plant science researchers and companies like Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, which sells the weed killer.