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South Dakota farmers report damage by dicamba

PIERRE (AP) -- South Dakota farmers have reported about 57,000 acres of crops damaged by an herbicide called dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide widely used to kill weeds in soybeans genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide, the Pierre ...

SOYBEANS
A farmer harvests soybeans. (Matt Gade / Republic)

PIERRE (AP) - South Dakota farmers have reported about 57,000 acres of crops damaged by an herbicide called dicamba.

Dicamba is an herbicide widely used to kill weeds in soybeans genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide, the Pierre Capital Journal reported .

The report comes from the state Department of Agriculture's online survey distributed in August to farmers asking them to report any damage from dicamba, said Tom Gere, the department's agronomy services manager.

More than 220 farmers have responded so far and their reports of acres damaged total about 57,000, according to Gere.

He said nearly all the reports were about soybean fields. Some residents also reported damage to gardens, fruit trees and vineyards.

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Gere said he didn't expect to see so many damage reports this year. He said reports of such damage have increased in recent years because dicamba can drift over to nearby field or gardens that are vulnerable to it.

"In meetings last winter in regards to that product, I thought maybe we would have a few complaints in regard to drift or whatever the case may be," Gere said. "But I didn't by any means, in my wildest dreams, think it was going to turn out the way it did."

Inspectors from the Agriculture Department checked on 39,000 acres of soybeans, separately from the online survey, after hearing complaints from farmers. Those inspections led to a "70 percent detection" over those acres, Gere said.

He expects to get better data on dicamba damage as the last 20 percent of the state's soybeans get harvested within the next two weeks.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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