Thomas Robinson | October 13th, 2020
Crop damage from the weedkiller Dicamba is the “most excessive” it has been since the 1960s leading to a record 329 pesticide misuse complaints.
Dicamba damage was already being observed at high levels earlier this summer as agronomists raised awareness about the pesticide. The record number of complaints comes as farmers across the state have experienced crop damage even after proper application of the pesticide. Dicamba application has been made more difficult this year as poor weather conditions for the pesticide’s application covered Iowa, and a court decision created uncertainty about the future of the pesticide.
Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, has a history of lawsuits for Dicamba damages. In 2016, Monsanto settled a complaint for $265 million after the destruction of a Missouri peach farm was connected with Dicamba drift. A class-action lawsuit against Monsanto in Missouri resulted in an additional $400 million settlement with other plaintiffs across the state.
Iowa currently allows Dicamba to be applied up to 45 days after planting, a practice which has come under criticism with calls for stronger restrictions. Dicamba use is fraught with difficulty and without serious changes it is unlikely that Iowa will see any changes in the number of pesticide misuse complaints moving forward.