Initial tests have shown that crop herbicide damage in Southern Idaho has been caused by applications of Oust, a Dupont product, by the Bureau of Land Management to 17,000 acres of land scorched by wildfires last year. The bureau has discontinued use of the product.
Crops within a one-quarter mile radius of the treated area have been affected so far. They include sugarbeets, corn and some grain crops. Potato crops have not shown signs of damage yet, but it is too early in the season to tell.
Montana State University conducted soil tests around the affected area and determined the range of contamination ranges from 0.079 parts per billion to 24 ppb. Crop damage ranges from moderate damage to death.
How the herbicide damage came about is still under speculation. Dust storms that have swept through Southern Idaho may have carried contaminated soil particles. Drought conditions have not helped because there is little vegetation to hold the soil down. The BLM is also gathering information regarding other chemicals growers have used.