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Latest Court Ruling Impacts Cotton Producers in Southwest United States

A last-minute court ruling has left cotton producers in the southwest perplexed, as it could significantly reduce their yields and increase the prices of natural fiber.

On February 6, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona ruled that three commonly used herbicides, known as dicamba, cannot be used in the 2024 growing season in the United States. This decision revokes the 2020 registrations for the use of Bayer’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia, and Syngenta’s Tavium herbicides.

As a result, cotton prices in the United States could increase in the near future. The National Cotton Council expressed their “extreme disappointment” with the decision, noting that dicamba-tolerant cotton varieties account for over 75% of cotton acres in the United States.

This ruling comes at an “especially problematic” time of the year, as many producers have already planned their cropping decisions, secured seeds, and started preparing the fields. Additionally, the National Cotton Council stated that there is not enough time to secure an alternative herbicide for the 2024 planting season.

The loss of dicamba herbicides could jeopardize the production of millions of acres of cotton, as there are not enough available alternatives. This worsens an already challenging economic situation, as current prices are below production costs.

The National Cotton Council is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appeal the decision, as they believe that this ruling “stifles the development and adoption” of new technologies that increase productivity and provide environmental benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, the EPA is reviewing the court’s decision, and BASF, the producer of dicamba, is evaluating its legal options and awaiting instructions from the EPA.

This court ruling will have a significant impact on agricultural input supply chains, which are still recovering from the disruptions of 2020. It is estimated that over 40 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton will be directly affected by this order. Many farmers rely on dicamba applications to control resistant weeds, which can compete with crops for water and nutrients, causing significant economic damage.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the court ruling that has affected cotton producers?
The court ruling determined that herbicides known as dicamba cannot be used in the 2024 growing season in the United States.

2. Which herbicides are affected by this ruling?
The herbicides Bayer’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia, and Syngenta’s Tavium are prohibited for use in the 2024 growing season.

3. What is the concern of cotton producers?
Producers are concerned that this measure could significantly reduce their yields and increase cotton prices in the United States.

4. What is the importance of dicamba herbicides in cotton production?
Dicamba-tolerant cotton varieties account for over 75% of cotton acres in the United States, so their prohibition endangers the production of millions of acres of cotton.

5. What is the stance of the National Cotton Council on this ruling?
The National Cotton Council expressed their “extreme disappointment” with the decision and is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appeal it.

Definitions:

– Herbicides: Chemical substances used to control weeds.

– Dicamba: A herbicide used in agriculture to control broadleaf weeds.

– Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Organization responsible for protecting human health and the environment in the United States.

Related Links:

– Bayer
– BASF
– Syngenta