MSGA cautions Minn. farmers on planting dicamba-tolerant soybeans

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is cautioning Minnesota soybean farmers about planting dicamba-tolerant soybeans after receiving multiple reports regarding the sales of this soybean trait in the state.

Representatives from both Monsanto and Pioneer have acknowledged this product is available for purchase in Minnesota. However, no dicamba herbicide product is currently labeled for application on soybeans in Minnesota. Applying dicamba to dicamba-tolerant soybeans at this time without U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval is illegal. Monsanto representatives have stated the weed control program for dicamba-tolerant soybeans during 2016 should be identical to that as other Roundup Ready II soybeans.

Currently, the EPA is requesting public comment on a draft label for M1691, a specific dicamba formulation of a Monsanto herbicide product. This 30-day public comment period was initiated on April 1 but may be extended. Monsanto representatives estimate the label will be accepted and released by the EPA sometime in the fall of 2016, far too late to utilize this form of dicamba for weed control in this growing season. Also, this draft label only applies to M1691, but no other form of dicamba that farmers may already have in their possession.

"MSGA fully supports these products from Monsanto and Pioneer," said MSGA President Paul Freeman. "The addition of this emergent technology to the toolbox will undoubtedly help farmers one day. At this time, however, there is no chemical application for dicamba for these traits, and there is no trait approval for these soybeans in Europe."

In addition to the lack of a dicamba herbicide label, the European Union has not authorized import of the dicamba-tolerant soybeans to the market. Monsanto representatives have stated the EU has verbally acknowledged authorization, yet written formal authorization has not been obtained.

"We have received several reports from farmers saying their elevators and processors have said they will not accept dicamba-tolerant soybeans," Freeman said. "While these traits are for sale in Minnesota, growers of the dicamba-tolerant soybeans may have nowhere to sell these beans come fall. We encourage any farmer considering planting these traits in 2016 to fully consider the risks involved."