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A US federal court decision blocking German chemical giant Bayer AG and two other companies from selling their dicamba herbicide could boost sales for Corteva Agriscience’s products, according to an industry source quoted in a Des Moines Register report.

After a federal court ruling in February, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order barring Bayer-owned Monsanto and other dicamba makers BASF and Syngenta Crop Protection from selling the herbicide, the May report said.

The EPA also issued an order allowing farmers to use dicamba they had already purchased for the coming growing season.

Four environmental groups had opposed the EPA’s registration of dicamba products, claiming they drifted from fields when sprayed on soyabeans and cotton, killing other crops not genetically modified to withstand it, as well as trees, orchards, gardens and pollinators like monarch butterflies and bees, Des Moines wrote.

US agrochemical company Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018 had reformulated dicamba, saying it had reduced its volatility, or tendency to vaporise and drift, by 90%, compared to the older chemical. However, problems with drift had continued, the report said.

Against this backdrop, Corteva had introduced a product that used 2,4-D, a 1940s herbicide that had been reformulated to avoid past drifting problems.

To date, the Corteva products have not experienced the regulatory troubles that dicamba had, according to analysts.

The product also had fewer application restrictions compared to new dicamba products, the analysts said.

With more US agricultural land becoming resistant to glyphosate every year, farmers wanted more options, according to Seth Goldstein, a Morningstar Research Services analyst Seth Goldstein.

“Farmers are looking for alternative soyabean seeds ... that don’t require dicamba or glyphosate use,” Goldstein was quoted as saying.

Monsanto and Syngenta have both said they “stand fully behind” their dicamba products, adding that they were vital to farmers trying to control weeds.

Without dicamba-based products, BASF estimated farmers would lose up to US$10bn in soyabean and US$800M in cotton yields annually.