Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Monsanto Co (MON.N) will give money again to U.S. farmers who purchase a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop injury, providing an incentive to use its product at the same time as regulators in a number of U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto emblem is displayed on a display screen the place the inventory is traded on the ground of the New York Inventory Change (NYSE) in New York Metropolis, U.S. on Might 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Picture

The inducement to make use of XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based mostly on a chemical generally known as dicamba, may refund farmers over half the sticker worth of the product in 2018 in the event that they spray it on soybeans Monsanto engineered to withstand the weed killer, in accordance with firm information.

America confronted an agricultural disaster this yr brought on by new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed consultants say harmed crops as a result of they evaporated and drifted away from the place they had been sprayed.

Monsanto says XtendiMax is secure when correctly utilized. The corporate is banking on the chemical and soybean seeds engineered to withstand it, referred to as Xtend, to dominate soybean manufacturing in the USA, the world’s second-largest exporter.

BASF SE (BASFn.DE) and DowDuPont (DWDP.N) additionally promote variations of dicamba-based herbicides.

Monsanto’s cash-back provide comes as federal and state regulators are requiring coaching for farmers who plan to spray dicamba in 2018 and limiting when it may be used. Weed specialists say the restrictions make the chemical extra expensive and inconvenient to use, however Monsanto’s incentive may assist persuade farmers to make use of it anyway.

“We imagine cash-back incentives for utilizing XtendiMax with VaporGrip Know-how higher allow growers to make use of a administration system that represents the subsequent degree of weed management,” stated Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto product supervisor.

XtendiMax prices about $11 per acre to purchase, and Monsanto is providing $6 per acre in money again to farmers after they apply it on Xtend soybeans together with different accredited herbicides, in accordance with the corporate.

Monsanto competes towards rivals together with Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) to promote genetically modified soybean seeds and chemical substances to farmers. Bayer is promoting its LibertyLink soybean model, a foremost rival to Xtend, to BASF as a part of a deal to amass Monsanto for $63.5 billion.

Monsanto additionally faces growing authorities oversight.

This month, North Dakota stated it deliberate to ban the usage of dicamba herbicides after June 30, 2018, and when temperatures high 85 levels Fahrenheit in a bid to forestall the chemical from drifting away from the place it’s sprayed.

Missouri stated it intends to finalize restrictions on XtendiMax quickly, after banning sprayings of BASF’s dicamba herbicide, referred to as Engenia, in 10 counties after June 1, 2018, and statewide after July 15, 2018.

Arkansas is near prohibiting dicamba sprayings after April 15, 2018, the tightest limits but, whereas Minnesota can be contemplating restrictions.

The states are taking motion after the U.S. Environmental Safety Company mandated particular coaching for dicamba customers for 2018, requiring farmers to maintain information proving they had been complying with label directions.

“Using the know-how, the fee will go up due to these modifications,” stated Andrew Thostenson, a pesticide specialist for North Dakota State College.

Monsanto predicts U.S. farmers will double plantings of Xtend soybeans to about 40 million acres subsequent yr regardless of experiences of crop injury this previous summer season.

Farmers stated its cash-back provide was designed to extend gross sales.

“I feel they’re simply making an attempt to purchase extra acres,” Dan Henebry, an Illinois farmer who plans to develop Xtend soybeans subsequent yr, stated about Monsanto.

Reporting by Tom Polansek; Modifying by Andrew Hay

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