In 2016, the Department of Agriculture received numerous pesticide drift complaints believed to be related to herbicide use incidents mostly involving a four county area in southeast Missouri. The four counties are Stoddard, Dunklin, New Madrid and Pemiscot. The department also received a small number of complaints from Butler County and Carroll County.
The complaints allege herbicide drift damage to more than 41,000 acres of soybeans as well as peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, rice, purple-hull peas, peanuts, cotton and alfalfa. Residential gardens, trees and shrubs have been included in the damage reports.
Similar complaints alleging Dicamba misuse have been received in other states where the Dicamba-tolerant seed was planted.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Dicamba?
Dicamba is an active ingredient contained in certain herbicides. Herbicides containing Dicamba are registered for uses in agriculture, residential areas, and other sites to address broadleaf weeds and woody plants. Current registrations for use on cotton and soybeans are restricted to preplant and postharvest burndown applications. The product labels for these herbicides specify this restriction.
- Have any farmers or pesticide applicators been prosecuted for illegal spraying of Dicamba this year?
Investigations are ongoing.
- What has the Missouri Department of Agriculture done to address the situation?
The goal of Plant Industries Division’s Pesticide Program is to prevent unreasonable adverse effects of pesticide use on non-target crops and the environment while helping assure the availability of pesticides needed to maintain our quality of life. This is accomplished by licensing pesticide applicators and dealers, registering pesticides and performing inspections and investigations in the enforcement of the Missouri Pesticide Use Act and the Missouri Pesticide Registration Act.
The department is thoroughly investigating these complaints.
- How many pesticide drift complaints does the department investigate each year?
Total Pesticide Incidents (Ag Use and Non Ag Use) involving filed complaints investigated by the Pesticide Program:
FY 2012 – 97
FY 2013 – 75 (one complaint was Dicamba-related)
FY 2014 – 75
FY 2015 – 90 (three complaints were Dicamba-related)
FY 2016 – 97 (27 complaints are allegedly Dicamba-related)
FY 2017 (July 1– February 27, 2017) – 181 (164 complaints are allegedly Dicamba-related)
- What is the department's estimate of how much crop damage has occurred in the Bootheel and to what crops?
The department does not assess crop damage in terms of yield loss.