Unauthorized herbicide use on the rise after release of Monsanto GMO

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Photo by Darrell Hoemann/Big Ag Watch

A farmer holds red, genetically engineered soybean seeds on Jan. 26, 2015.

While pesticides are meant to protect our food and fuel supplies from weeds or bugs, sometimes it can damage them.

This seems to be the case this growing season.

Dozens of farmers in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee are complaining about damages to their crops from pesticide drift. While that isn’t uncommon, experts anticipate that this problem could be one of the largest.

The culprit? Dicamba, a little-used herbicide meant for weed control.

Monsanto released a corn and cotton GMO engineered to withstand dicamba but has not yet released a corresponding herbicide as it is still pending federal approval. (Here they discuss their strategy.)

But, as reported by NPR and other news outlets, some farmers are using dicamba anyway in desperate moves to combat pigweed. Previous herbicides aren’t as effective.

The drift from dicamba to neighboring farms could cut harvest up to 30 percent, NPR reported.

Here’s a look back at this GMO before it was deregulated – our radio story from February 2015 (You can read the online version here).

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