Monsanto offers cash to US farmers who use controversial chemical

Monsanto will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that will has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.

The incentive to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba, could refund farmers over half the sticker cost of the product in 2018 if they spray that will on soybeans Monsanto engineered to resist the weed killer, according to company data.

The United States faced an agricultural crisis This particular year caused by brand new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers along with weed experts say harmed crops because they evaporated along with drifted away by where they were sprayed.

Monsanto says XtendiMax is actually safe when properly applied. The company is actually banking on the chemical along with soybean seeds engineered to resist that will, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production from the United States, the planet’s second-largest exporter.

BASF along with DowDuPont also sell versions of dicamba-based herbicides.

Monsanto’s cash-back offer comes as federal along with state regulators are requiring training for farmers who plan to spray dicamba in 2018 along with limiting when that will can be used. Weed specialists say the restrictions make the chemical more costly along with inconvenient to apply, yet Monsanto’s incentive could help convince farmers to use that will anyway.

“We believe cash-back incentives for using XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology better enable growers to use a management system that will represents the next level of weed control,” said Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto product manager.

XtendiMax costs about $11 per acre to buy, along with Monsanto is actually offering $6 per acre in cash back to farmers when they apply that will on Xtend soybeans along with different approved herbicides, according to the company.

Monsanto competes against rivals including Bayer to sell genetically modified soybean seeds along with chemicals to farmers. Bayer is actually selling its LibertyLink soybean brand, a main rival to Xtend, to BASF as part of a deal to acquire Monsanto for $63.5 billion.

Monsanto also faces increasing government oversight.

This particular month, North Dakota said that will planned to prohibit the use of dicamba herbicides after June 30, 2018, along with when temperatures top 85 degrees Fahrenheit in a bid to prevent the chemical by drifting away by where that will is actually sprayed.

Missouri said that will intends to finalize restrictions on XtendiMax soon, after banning sprayings of BASF’s dicamba herbicide, called Engenia, in 10 counties after June 1, 2018, along with statewide after July 15, 2018.

Arkansas is actually close to prohibiting dicamba sprayings after April 15, 2018, the tightest limits yet, while Minnesota is actually also considering restrictions.

The states are taking action after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandated special training for dicamba users for 2018, requiring farmers to keep records proving they were complying with label instructions.

“Utilizing the technology, the cost will go up because of these alterations,” said Andrew Thostenson, a pesticide specialist for North Dakota State University.

Monsanto predicts U.S. farmers will double plantings of Xtend soybeans to about 40 million acres next year despite reports of crop damage This particular past summer.

Farmers said its cash-back offer was designed to improve sales.

“I think they’re just trying to buy more acres,” Dan Henebry, an Illinois farmer who plans to grow Xtend soybeans next year, said about Monsanto.

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