A Little Dose of Agricultural Aggravation
So a few days ago there was an article in the New York Times about problems caused by the herbicide Dicamba.
No doubt you’re aware that for some years farmers have been spraying Roundup (Glyphosate) on crops that have been genetically engineered to tolerate that particular herbicide. Problem is, now the weeds themselves have also become Roundup tolerant.
But have no fear. Monsanto, DuPont, and BASF are now marketing soybean and cotton seeds that are resistant to another herbicide, Dicamba. The possibility that weeds could develop a tolerance for Dicamba, as they did for Roundup, doesn’t seem to worry the good folks at Monsanto, etc.
Problem is, Dicamba has an unfortunate tendency to drift beyond the area where it’s been sprayed. A researcher from the University of Missouri has found 2,708 complaints in 25 states about damage done by drifting Dicamba to crops, shrubs, trees, and residential gardens. In some instances state parks and nature preserves have also been affected.
In response, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced new instructions for spraying Dicamba – for example, no spraying if the wind is blowing at more than 10 miles per hour. I admit that my knowledge on this subject is pretty limited, but this rule sounds more than a little pointless. For starters, how on earth would it be enforced?
Anyway, to me this whole situation seems fundamentally wrong-headed. If you want to know more, read the whole article.
That’s all for now.