Trade and markets


United States of America
Commodity Group
Oilseeds, oils and meals
Herbicide 'Dicamba'
Policy Category
Consumption and marketing
Policy Instrument
Pesticide regulation
Considered restricting the use of dicamba-based herbicides, which are extensively used in soybean cultivation. This consideration came after reports of possible damage to crops not resistant to the chemical.
Allegedly, in the United States, more than one million hectares of soybeans and other crops vulnerable to the herbicide dicamba (i.e. varieties that were not engineered to resist dicamba) have been damaged this year as a result of sprayings on neighbouring fields. Experts have linked the damage to the herbicide’s tendency to vaporize and drift across fields, triggering temporary bans of the controversial herbicide in Arkansas and Missouri. Nation-wide use of the chemical had been approved in November last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – for a limited period of two years and provided that special safety measures were applied (see MPPU Dec.’16). Now, to address the problems encountered and ensure vulnerable plants are adequately protected, EPA is evaluating the following remedial actions: (i) introducing tighter restrictions on when and how to spray dicamba; (ii) requiring enhanced training for users of the herbicide; and (iii) reclassifying the product to prevent the general public from buying it. If implemented, such restrictions could affect farmers’ seed purchases: soybean growers might stay away from buying dicamba-resistant varieties – which, this year, accounted for almost one-fourth of the United States’ total soybean area.