What You Need to Know About Dicamba

Dicamba (pronounced die-kum-bah) is a type of herbicide that was first noted to be used in 1908. The chemical was made illegal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its toxicity and propensity for drift into neighboring fields during use, as well as other environmental harms it caused such as ozone depletion and water contamination from runoff. Dicamba has fallen out of favor with farmers because glyphosate, which Monsanto originally marketed dicamba alongside, became widely accepted due to its lower cost and greater health benefits than dicamba did on a crop level…

Dicamba is a weed killer that has been used for many years. However, in recent years, it has caused a lot of problems for farmers. The EPA approved the use of dicamba for certain crops last year but now they are having to ban its use because of the damage it causes. Read more in detail here: why is dicamba bad.

What You Need to Know About Dicamba

Dicamba has been making news recently, but unless you’re a farmer in Arkansas or Missouri, you may not be familiar with the term. That’s why ClassAction.com has compiled this tutorial on dicamba damage, one of the most pressing challenges confronting American farmers this year.

What exactly is dicamba?

Dicamba is a very volatile herbicide that has a tendency to drift off-site. Banvel, Diablo, Oracle, Vanquish, XtendiMax (a newer Monsanto formulation) and Engenia are some of the brand names for Dicamba (a newer formulation made by BASF). More than 1,100 herbicide products contain dicamba, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

Dicamba has not been allowed for use on crops until recently due to its instability. Farmers, however, continued to use it on Monsanto GMO crops that are resistant to both Roundup and dicamba herbicides. Thousands of examples of dicamba volatilizing and spreading into adjacent farms, causing damage to non-resistant crops, have resulted as a result of this.

What is dicamba drift, and how does it happen?

When a dicamba herbicide applied on one farmer’s crops becomes airborne and floats or drifts over another farmer’s field, it is known as dicamba drift. This may be disastrous since the first farmer’s crops are likely to be dicamba-resistant, but the second farmer’s crops may not be. A large swath of crops might be harmed if this is the case.

In 2017, Arkansas farmers have reported over 500 dicamba drift complaints.

Last year, dicamba caused damage to almost 200,000 acres in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. In Arkansas, approximately 1,000 dicamba complaints have been submitted so far this year.


Why did Arkansas voters decide to ban the use of dicamba?

The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s State Plant board decided on June 23 to enact an emergency rule severely banning the use of dicamba for 120 days, as concerns about its abuse continue to mount. It is now being considered for a ban next year as well.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a 120-day dicamba ban on Friday, June 30. Governor Hutchinson also established a dicamba task group and authorized hiking the maximum penalties for pesticide overuse from $1,000 to $25,000, up from $1,000 before. Hundreds of dicamba complaints, he said, necessitated immediate action.

“There seems to be a lot of probable dicamba drift throughout the state, based on calls I’ve received from producers.”

Similar steps may be taken by other states. Missouri voters approved an outright ban on the herbicide, which was later amended with limits. Tennessee has prohibited previous dicamba formulations and placed limits that limit dicamba application to a seven-hour window each day (from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Kansas is also looking into dicamba-related concerns and may take steps to limit its usage.

What role does Monsanto have in the dicamba debate?

For decades, Monsanto’s Roundup has been the herbicide of choice for on-crop applications; glyphosate-resistant genetically modified (GMO) crops account for almost 90% of all soy, cotton, and maize grown in the United States.

“The agrochemical industry’s carelessness caused this catastrophe, and farmers are the ones who are suffering the price.”

The extensive usage of Roundup over many growing seasons has resulted in the natural selection of weeds that are resistant to the toxicity of glyphosate. These so-called “super weeds” have taken over the country: Glyphosate-resistant super weeds currently infest 61 million acres of farmland in the United States, accounting for more than two-thirds of all farmland in the country. That figure was just 32.6 million acres in 2010.


Monsanto developed new GMO crops that are resistant to both Roundup and dicamba to solve the problem. Before any dicamba formulation was approved for on-crop treatments, these crops were introduced to the market during the 2016 growing season. This resulted in widespread unlawful spraying of earlier dicamba formulations, enabling dicamba to volatilize and move, causing massive crop damage.

According to Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist who has been investigating agrochemicals for 20 years, “This expensive and harmful predicament was predicted years ago by Monsanto and other chemical firms, who said that the solution to pesticide abuse was more pesticides. The agrochemical industry’s carelessness is to blame for this disaster, but farmers are the ones who are suffering the price.”

XtendiMax, a newer dicamba formulation from Monsanto, is one of the latest dicamba formulations.

Why are farmers suing over dicamba?

While some local governments have imposed sanctions on farmers who overuse dicamba, these fines are often between $200 and $1,000, which are insignificant in relation to the harm dicamba causes. Farmers that are affected by dicamba would lose 10 to 30% of their yearly crop production, according to Modern Farmer.

“Dicamba’s producers failed to guarantee that their goods could be utilized safely, and farmers will pay the price when harvest comes.”

Many farmers in Arkansas and surrounding states have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont, demanding reimbursement for the harm done to their crops, despite the fact that the penalties are so low and Monsanto and BASF are unlikely to face criminal charges.

Rene Rocha, an attorney with ClassAction.com who is pursuing dicamba litigation against the corporations listed above, says:

Farmers are well aware of the devastation that a single poor year may cause. Farmers are dealing with not just Mother Nature and fluctuating pricing this year, but also defective herbicides moving from other fields and ruining their crops. Farmers throughout the nation will pay the price because dicamba producers failed to guarantee that their chemicals could be used safely.

Mr. Rocha claims that his clients are seeking compensation for crop losses and output reductions.

Please call us now for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one has been harmed by dicamba drift.

Dicamba is a widely used weed-killing chemical. It’s also the subject of many lawsuits because it can drift into neighboring fields and kill crops that are not genetically modified to resist it. Glyphosate, on the other hand, is a herbicide that has been widely used for decades without any major issues. Reference: dicamba vs glyphosate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the problem with dicamba?

A: Dicamba is an herbicide that has been banned in some countries because it can contaminate groundwater and kill off other crops.

How long does dicamba stay in the soil?

A: Dicamba is not water soluble, so it will stay in the soil for a long time.

When can you not spray dicamba?

A: Dicamba is generally not allowed to be sprayed in a field for at least 45 days before harvest.

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