A POTENTIAL class action against FMC for alleged damage caused by its herbicide Overwatch has gained momentum with more than 100 cases reported.
In September last year, Levitt Robinson confirmed it was seeking expressions of interest from farmers on a proposed class action against FMC on the grounds that Overwatch caused damage to barley crops.
Since then, the legal firm has been waiting until harvest finished so farmers could quantify how bad the losses from the herbicide were.
Levitt Robinson special counsel Brett Imlay said the reports from farmers showed that wherever the herbicide had been used on barley, in particular, the losses were allegedly quite significant.
"That obviously depends on the hectares under cultivation, but we're seeing anywhere from 20 to 70 per cent in losses," Mr Imlay said.
"There was a wide range and the losses aren't uniform as they depend on a number of factors, however it happened regardless of the sowing method that was used.
"I believe that FMC is going to try to suggest that it was only significant off-label usage that caused the problems, however that's not what we are seeing from farmers."
According to Levitt Robinson, the registration of interest from farmers was sufficient and was greater than other class actions that have gained momentum and been successfully launched by the firm in the past.
When asked about the potential class action, FMC head of development for Aaustralia/New Zealand Geoff Robertson said the company continued to work closely with growers who use Overwatch Herbicide to help them achieve the best outcomes and discuss any queries that they may have.
"The vast majority of growers have had a positive experience using Overwatch Herbicide in 2021," Mr Robertson said.
"2022 is again looking like it will be a great growing season and FMC is working hard to ensure growers have access to sufficient supply of Overwatch herbicide to enable growers to achieve maximum success this year."
Mr Imlay said it would be a matter of weeks, if not months, until the class action was potentially launched as they're still investigating what the ultimate impact was.
He encouraged anyone who thought they had suffered a loss to get in contact with the firm.
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