This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that soybean farmers in 25 states are now able to spray a pesticide that the agency has determined is likely to cause cancer and drift hundreds of feet from where it is applied.
The move was widely praised by farmers, who view the weedkiller as a new tool in an ever-increasing battle with “super weeds” that have developed resistance to as many as six different types of weedkillers, including glyphosate, the most widely used pesticide in the U.S.
The herbicide, isoxaflutole, will be able to be sprayed on soybeans that have been genetically engineered to withstand it. The weedkiller kills broadleaf plants and is already used on corn in 33 states. Isoxaflutole is manufactured by German agribusiness giant BASF and sold under the brand name Alite 27.
Bayer originally commercialized the modified soybeans and herbicide under its LibertyLink system but was required to sell it to BASF as part of the merger agreement when it bought Monsanto in 2018.