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Veteran Advisor

11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

Here's a pretty thorough AP story of what's behind the consolidation of dicamba suits from Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas.  All parties seem to be happy with the location.

 

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/feb/02/11-dicamba-cases-moved-to-1-court-20180/

 

Now my question is what will the trial be about?  Will it be about drift?  Will it be about use of old-style dicamba?  Will it be about equipment contamination?  Will it be about volatility?

 

In other words, will it be about what has happened or what could happen?  The old chemical, the clean equipment, the drift can all be managed, but can dicamba volatility ever be safe?  That to me is the bigger question.

 

This suit is likely to take years, don't you think?

 

I'd expect there will be lots of fallout.  Monsanto's buy-out for one.  Lots of study of non-target crop effects, such as on oak trees that could get the non-farm environmentalists engaged.  And if dicamba isn't available, what do we do about Palmer Amaranth and water hemp - go back to tillage with big iron and erosion?  I doubt it.  Crop rotation, back to the 60's?  Only in our dreams.  

 

Maybe the dicamba question illustrates the central dilemma of modern agriculture - how to balance the short and long term goals of competing interests.  Farms get bigger.  Each operator has to cover more acres.  There is a tendency to vertical integration or long-term relationships that rely on certain crops and practices.  We live in interesting and changing times.

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5 Replies
Honored Advisor

Re: 11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

Now they can all be dismissed at once.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: 11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

You think Monsanto is going to win on the dicamba issue in the long run?

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Honored Advisor

Re: 11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

Yep....... I live in wind.... and spray drift damage is an annual issue here .... I have never seen a chemical company held responsible for application issues.... not saying it doesn't happen... just very hard to prove. Even knowing what the beans are reacting to is difficult.  Dicamba or 24d.....for example.

 

1.  It will be hard to actually show large declines in production that can be isolated to this source without weather effect.

2   It is largely a cosmetic effect....... Responsibility will be judged on financial effect...

3.  One doesnt realize chemical drift levels until we have a new trait variety to compare it to.  

4 If your not careful this will only prove the missuse of the products....  In my thinking the new gene trait for dicamba should not be used to increase dicamba use in beans.... dicamba is not that effective as a herbicide alone.....  The real benefit of the genetic modification is the tollerance for what happens around the field on other crops and the residual that may be present in the soil.

 

You might think dicamba is not a residual herbicide.  But it has been applied in ever increasing volumes in recent  years to assist in glyphosate tolerance and difficult weeds in fallow and pasture land.  Drought areas do not break down chemicals the same as rainfall.  Dilution factors etc...  

We see beans reacting to it early in season and more widespread since the drought 

 

If monsanto can be tied to causing the increased non trait reaction, for example-- through the addition of something in the glyphosate tollerance process--- to make the non dicamba beans show dicamba reaction..... in order to promote the sale of its dicamba tolerance trait beans......... then this is a big deal..... but that is a little hollywood/ far left / organic conspiracy thinking IMO. 

This road is paved with too much fine print, and the producer holds the responsibility for application and meeting the requirements of that fine print.  I doubt it goes very far.  And may come down to a few farmer "examples" set.  Or maybe a little "settling" --- without responsibility defined.

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: 11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

Do you think there will be any effect from the "little old lady" crowd, environmentalists, or others trying to show an effect on oak trees, commercial vegetables or such?  

 

We have a lot of commercial vegetables grown around Muscatine along the Mississippi River and that is one of the first place Palmer Amaranth was found in Iowa.

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Honored Advisor

Re: 11 Dicamba Suits Consolidated In St. Louis

Oh sure there is always a soap box for the camera's 

But I doubt that soap box ever sees the court room.  Unless there is clear evidence of intentional wrong doing involved...

Opinions are cheap and abundant...  and the court should not get bogged down in the whining that might take place in public forums for psuedo science fantasy  and corporation roasting....

just my opinion

 

Your original question was "is the combining of these cases into one a sign of validity or strength of argument?"  That is what I think but i might have missunderstood...   

The combining IMO says none of them had any unique evidence and primarily were all similar crop damage issues.  Hard to blame on the manufacturer.

 

The bigger issue for me is we continue to try to get results from the same old basic chemicals that have problems(dicamba & 24d-- volatility, atrazine - residual, dual & Frontier & lasso/harness type chemicals ---short life/limited effectiveness--etc etc etc) Very little new chemistry developed in many years...  

I just shake my head when these chemical companies with this cutting edge gene technology want to meld it with herbicide chemistry that is ancient. in scientific terms.

Who deserves the blame for these rediculous problems?  Whether it is the epa regulations  or too much expectation out of chemical companies....or companies who make obsene profits on obsolete chemicals and are willing to use gene technology to enhance profits without much proformance.

 

Dicamba is as it always was a poor sidekick herbicide that damages crop and weed alike, and has less kill power than table salt.  Yet these chemical companies have promoted it as the fix for everything that has gained resistance to glyphosate or is hard to kill under stress.  I do not think the producers were hoping for the ability to use more dicamba.  The chemical was registered in 1967, and that is the answer to our weed control problems????????

 

Jim what do we expect using one of the most volatile chemicals around and expecting no problems....Why buy it....

The seed technology may be a good buy for protection from drift. But why use or promote the use of the problem as a form of weed control.   This is the producers mistake.   Buyer beware.

 

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