Market News & Headlines >> Court Blocks Dicamba-based Herbicide Sales

A U.S. federal court has blocked sales of dicamba-based weed killers in the U.S., creating uncertainty over whether producers can legally use such products during the 2020 growing season. 

A three-judge panel of the Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Wednesday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) substantially understated the risks related to the use of dicamba which is found in herbicides made by Bayer AG and its rivals.  The ruling blocks sales of Bayers XtendiMax herbicide and also applies to sales of other dicamba-based herbicides such as BASF's Engenia and Corteva Agriscience's FeXapan. 

Environmental groups, which filed a lawsuit in 2018, asked the court to force the EPA to cancel its approval of Monsanto's dicamba-based XtendiMax product, arguing it not only harms nearby crops and plants but wildlife as well. The groups argued that the EPA action violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act. 

Both Bayer and BASF said they disagreed with the judgment issued on Wednesday. "Depending upon actions by the EPA and whether the ruling is successfully challenged, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season," Bayer saidm according to Reuters News Service. 

“We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options. If the ruling stands, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season. Our top priority is making sure our customers have the support they need to have a successful season. 

Bayer said the ruling relates to the EPA's 2018 registration decision, which expires in December and it was working to obtain a new EPA registration for the weed killer for 2021 and beyond. The EPA had imposed restrictions on the use of dicamba in November 2018 due to concerns about the potential damage to crops surrounding those it was being applied to.