Monsanto’s new Xtend soybeans are likely to be involved

The dicamba herbicide drift disaster in Missouri and Arkansas has taken a tragic turn – see item 1 below.

The farmer dispute that led to the murder was likely to be caused by dicamba spray drift from fields growing Monsanto’s new Xtend soybeans, which are genetically engineered to tolerate dicamba herbicide. Dicamba kills or harms other neighbouring crops that aren’t genetically engineered to tolerate it.

For background, see item 2 below, which dates from August this year.

1. UPDATE: Drift dispute leaves one dead, one in custody
2. Monsanto explains actions as dicamba drift fallout continues

1. UPDATE: Drift dispute leaves one dead, one in custody

By Sonja Begemann
AgWeb, 28 Oct 2016

A dispute over pesticide drift has led to the death of one man and the arrest of another in Leachville, Ark., according to Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

Thursday night, 26-year-old Allan Curtis Jones of the town of Arbyrd, in Missouri’s far southern Bootheel, was arrested in connection with the death of 55-year-old farmer Mike Wallace, of nearby Monette, Ark. Jones is in custody on first degree murder charges, Cook told AgWeb.

Local news station KAIT reports Jones told deputies he and his cousin had met with Wallace to “talk about a dispute between them".

The dispute was over spraying dicamba herbicide, Cook confirmed to KAIT.

Jones reportedly said Wallace had confronted him and grabbed him by the arm. Jones then pulled away and “shot Wallace until the gun was empty,” KAIT reports.

“[Jones] is trying to say it was self-defense,” Cook told AgWeb.

Jones bonded out of jail and will appear again in court on Monday, KAIT reports.

AgWeb is continuing to investigate this story and will have updates as they become available.

2. Monsanto explains actions as dicamba drift fallout continues

David Bennett
Delta Farm Press, 1 August 2016
[excerpt only]

* Aiming to supply 15 million U.S. Xtend soybean acres in 2017

When serious drift issues began popping up around the Mid-South in late June, dicamba immediately became the prime suspect.

The reason? Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean seed had been approved for planting in 2016. However, the company’s new dicamba formulation with lower volatility had not. In fact, no dicamba product has been approved for use with the Xtend technology.

It turns out the ban didn’t stop farmers – many desperate to control problem pigweeds – from spraying various dicamba products on the crop. The full consequences of those actions won’t be known until harvest but regulatory officials in several states cite a rough figure of 200,000 affected acres in the Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel and Tennessee.

Monsanto has big plans for Xtend soybeans. With both the EU and Chinese approvals of the technology, and confident its dicamba formulations will be approved by the EPA, Monsanto “continues to be in a strong position to supply roughly 15 million U.S. soy acres when the selling season arrives,” reads a company statement…