Nov 9 U.S. seeds and agrochemicals maker
Monsanto Co has secured approval from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency for a new dicamba-based weed
killer designed for its next generation biotech soy and cotton
varieties, the company said on Wednesday.
While approval had been expected, it is seen as a major step
forward for the company's newest herbicide tolerant products
amid rising problems in the U.S. farm belt with weeds resistant
to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed
Environmental groups criticized the EPA approval.
The Center for Biological Diversity said the ruling would
lead to sharp increases in pesticide use that could harm
threatened plant and animal species, including the whooping
"Piling on more pesticides will just result in superweeds
resistant to more pesticides," said Nathan Donley, a scientist
with the group.
The EPA signed off on Monsanto's XtendiMax herbicide for
in-crop use on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend biotech soybeans, designed
to tolerate applications of glyphosate and dicamba, and its
Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton, which can tolerate the two
chemicals as well as glufosinate.
The company is still awaiting an EPA ruling on its Roundup
Xtend herbicide, a glyphosate and dicamba blend.
Farmers have used dicamba for years to kill weeds ahead of
planting, but until now have not been allowed to use it on
Monsanto has invested more than $1 billion in a dicamba
production facility in Luling, Louisiana, to supply demand it
expects will blossom in the coming years. The company has said
the Xtend platform will be its largest-ever technology launch.
The company said it expects the soybean variety to be
planted on 15 million U.S. acres in 2017 and its cotton to be
planted on more than 3 million acres.
(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Diane Craft)