After users complained of skin irritation, including rashes, Monsanto is delaying until further notice the launch of NemaStrike — a new farm chemical used to kill worms on corn, soybeans and cotton. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did extensive evaluations of the product before approving it for use, according to Monsanto, which has described NemaStrike as ‘blockbuster technology,’” reports Reuters. Monsanto argues that some of its field testers may have been using the spray incorrectly or not wearing the proper protection.
Most of the pesticide retailers who took part in an Illinois trade association poll reported damage from the weedkiller dicamba even when the weedkiller was sprayed in good conditions, says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting (MCIR). Separately, the University of Missouri said the herbicide was blamed for damage to 3.6 million acres of soybeans as of Oct. 15, a 16 percent increase from its Aug 10 tally.
Researchers have developed the first genetically modified version of a Cavendish banana that is resistant to the devastating soil-borne fungus known as Panama disease. The fungus, or Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), can stay in the soil for 40 years and doesn’t respond to chemical sprays. It has destroyed Cavendish — the main commercial banana variety — plantations around the world, and is fast spreading across Asia.
Monsanto chief technology officer Robb Fraley says there will be enough dicamba-tolerant seed available to account for half of U.S. soybean plantings next year. At the same time that EPA reportedly is considering new guidelines on use of the weedkiller, Fraley described dicamba as a "tremendous success" for "the overwhelming majority of farmers using" the low-volatility formulation of the herbicide.
Dozens of internal emails "reveal how Monsanto worked with an outside consulting firm to induce" a scientific journal "to publish a purported 'independent' review of Roundup's health effects that appears to be anything but," says Bloomberg Businessweek. The review, published as a supplement by Critical Reviews in Toxicology, rebutted the conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, is probably carcinogenic to humans.
After shutting down row-crop use of dicamba for the rest of this growing season, Arkansas has appointed a 21-member task force to look for a long-term solution to the nearly 900 complaints about the herbicide this year. "The task force will attempt to reach consensus on a set of recommendations for the use of dicamba products n Arkansas as quickly as possible in order to provide certainty for the 2018 growing season," said the state Agriculture Department.
Where your yellowfin tuna was caught can dramatically change the level of pollutants in its flesh, say researchers at the University of San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, after testing 117 yellowfin tuna from 12 locations in a first-of-its-kind global study.
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, introduced a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos over health concerns, after the EPA refused to take it off shelves earlier this spring. “Udall's bill calls for the EPA to conduct a broad review of the use of the pesticide to determine which groups are most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” says Reuters.
The attorneys general of 11 states have sued the EPA for delaying implementation of a chemical-spill rule at industrial sites, including fertilizer plants, by two years. “The set of regulations, called the Chemical Accident Safety Rule, would require industrial facilities to take new steps to prevent accidents and also to conduct more robust examinations of the causes of accidents that do occur,” says Reuters.
"Nothing runs like a Deere," according to an old tagline for the world's largest farm equipment maker, and nothing lends like a Deere, either, says the Wall Street Journal. The company, which lends billions of dollars to farmers who buy its equipment, "is providing more short-term credit for crop supplies such as seeds, chemicals and fertilizer, making it the No. 5 agricultural lender."
Six state prosecutors from New York, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are joining environmental and social advocacy groups in a lawsuit to push the EPA to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. "It is EPA's responsibility to protect Americans from unsafe chlorpyrifos residues on food because of the potential neuro-developmental and other adverse health effects caused by exposure," the prosecutors said in their filing, according to Reuters.
Two new farm-based studies have provided some of the most compelling evidence to date that neonicotinoid pesticides are harmful to domestic and wild bees.The first study, paid for in part by $3 million from Syngenta and Bayer and published in the journal Science, “took place at 33 large farmland sites spread across the UK, Germany and Hungary.
Due to a procedural error on Tuesday, the Arkansas state plant board will re-vote on Friday on whether to temporarily ban use of the weedkiller dicamba, suspected of drifting out of cotton and soybean fields to damage neighboring crops, reported DTN. Some 167 complaints alleging misuse of the herbicide, mostly along the eastern edge of Arkansas, were filed with the state board as of midday Wednesday.
A two-year, multi-state study, paid for by soybean check-off funds, found no yield benefit from planting soybean seeds coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide compared to untreated seeds. The study was a joint effort of seven universities in the Plains and Midwest and concluded that, as far as expenses and pest control were concerned, farmers were better off to scout their fields and apply insecticides as needed.
The European Commission will propose granting glyphosate — the world’s most common weedkiller and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — a 10-year renewal of its license. The commission had held off on making the proposal over controversy that the chemical was carcinogenic.
The EPA has proposed delaying, by a year, the implementation of a pesticide-application rule made tougher under the Obama administration, said the agency in a press release.
The European Commission has been in a two-year deadlock over whether to remove formaldehyde from livestock feed. The chemical, which is used to kill salmonella, has been linked to cancer.
The $43 billion purchase of Swiss-based Syngenta by state-owned ChemChina has the approval of U.S. and EU regulators, keeping in motion a wave of consolidation in the seed and ag chemical sector. ChemChina agreed to divest a large part of its European pesticide operations to satisfy the competition concerns of regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.