KASU

Herbicide ruins state-funded soybean field in Arkansas

Jun 14, 2017

KEISER, Ark. (AP) — The herbicide dicamba has ruined about 100 acres of soybeans at a state-funded agriculture experiment station in northeastern Arkansas.

Northeast Research and Extension Center Director Chuck Wilson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2rr6qKq) the afflicted field will be tilled and replanted. He said the damage was discovered Friday and that officials aren't certain where the herbicide originated.

"We're going to have to start over," Wilson said.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture operates the center. The farm consists of 750 acres, where the university's scientists research all aspects of farming, including the effectiveness and potential pitfalls of herbicides and pesticides on corn, cotton, rice, sorghum, soybeans and other crops.

Crop damage from herbicides was a common problem among farmers last year. More than 40 complaints have been filed with the state Plant Board this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement Monday that he was aware of the complaints and will have state Department of Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward and Plant Board director Terry Walker review the areas addressed in them, reporting any findings and recommendations.

Dicamba is a weed killer that's long been used on farms, around homes and on golf courses. The herbicide now is being used heavily, and sometimes illegally, in fighting pigweed, which has grown resistant to other herbicides because of overuse by farmers.

Soybeans are particularly vulnerable to dicamba, unless they're a dicamba-tolerant, genetically modified variety released last year by agrochemical company Monsanto.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com