A lawsuit filed last week accuses Monsanto sales representatives of secretly giving farmers assurances of using “off label” methods for a dicamba herbicide formulation.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports the lawsuit claims: “This was Monsanto’s real plan: publicly appear as if it were complying, while allowing its seed representatives to tell farmers the opposite in person.” A Tennessee weed management expert, Larry Steckel, says in the suit that “it’s almost impossible” to follow label directions for dicamba-based herbicides, given the recent changes that have surfaced over drift allegations.
Formulations were changed to dicamba-based herbicides following an outbreak of drift incidents last year to reduce volatility and drift. However, those changes have not seemed to slow reports of drifts problems in 2017. The suit says the defendants “actually benefit” from rampant drift, because it pressures farmers to adopt dicamba-tolerant seed to avoid damage.
Monsanto and BASF indicated to the Post-Dispatch that they were aware of the suit but declined to comment on specific allegations. Both companies cited their efforts to educate growers about correct application of dicamba.