Missouri Farmer Today reports that the Department of Agriculture is investigating the discovery of dicamba – a drift-prone herbicide – which farmers believe is causing widespread crop damage.
The problem has reached a fever pitch in the Bootheel, where more than 100 complaints of drift have been reported since late June — exceeding the Department of Agriculture’s usual statewide caseload for an entire year.
Kevin Bradley, a professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri and agricultural Extension scientist, said everything he’s seen suggests dicamba is responsible for crop damage on farms across the area, though he has not observed Bader’s case firsthand.
(Peach farmer Bill) Bader’s farm in Campbell is Missouri’s largest producer of peaches, accounting for more than half of the state’s harvest. But even with much of this year’s crop still to be picked, Bader is bracing for production to take a dramatic hit.
Bader told Missouri Farmer Today that nearly “10,000 other trees mustered only walnut-sized peaches not even worth picking. He says the shortfall will amount to a loss of produce of $1.5 million to $2 million.”