The two biggest U.S. independent seed sellers, Beck’s Hybrids and Stine Seed, are pressuring federal regulators to bar farmers from spraying dicamba weed killer in upcoming summers — a potential blow to Bayer AG’s Monsanto Co.
Limiting spraying of the chemical to the spring season, before crops are planted, would prevent the herbicide from reaching dicamba-resistant soybeans that St. Louis-based Monsanto engineered. The seeds are sold by companies including Beck’s and Stine.
Last summer, after farmers planted a large number of Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soy seeds, the herbicide drifted onto nearby farms and damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of non-resistant soybeans, or 4 percent of all U.S. plantings.
That includes crop damage of at least one million acres in Missouri as of last month, according to the University of Missouri.
The news is the latest of bad press for Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer back in June for $63 billion. Bayer’s stocks have plunged by 18 percent as of this week after a California jury ruled that Monsanto must pay $289 million in damages to a man who claims the company’s popular herbicide Roundup caused his cancer.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch