States Tighten Dicamba Regulations

Alleged dicamba drift damaged an estimated 3.1 million acres in 2017.

Despite controversy this past year, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean and cotton acres will likely increase this year. Monsanto says seed is available to double last year’s dicamba-tolerant soy acres and plant up to 40 million acres—or nearly half of the 91 million U.S. soybean acres.

“You’ll have fewer sensitive varieties out there, so that leads to the potential for a decrease in damaged soybeans,” says Bob Hartzler, Iowa State Extension weed scientist. “And I think, I hope, applicators are going to pay a lot more attention to what is adjacent to their field.”

So, no matter the state where you live, if farmers use dicamba-tolerant soybeans or cotton, then you will face more restrictions this year per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label changes, which include:

  • Products are restricted use-only for certified applicators, who must have dicamba-specific training, to apply.
  • Farmers must maintain records regarding use of dicamba products.
  • Dicamba may only be applied when wind speed is below 10 mph (previously 15 mph).
  • Reduction in time of day dicamba may be applied (specifics not given)
  • Add tank cleanout language to prevent cross contamination
  • Increase awareness of risk to nearby sensitive crops by enhancing susceptible crop language and record keeping

These label changes apply to new formulations Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax. Below are examples of states with further restrictions on the products. Due to the increased regulations for 2018, retailers will play a key role in the coming year.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Legislative Council put into law a rule from the Arkansas State Plant Board banning applicators from using dicamba between April 16 and Oct. 31.

The regulations include exemptions for dicamba use in pastures, rangeland, turf, ornamental, direct injection for forestry and home landscapes. In addition to banning dicamba use in row crops, the state is increasing fines for violation to $25,000. These decisions come after nearly 1,000 official complaints in the state.

Illinois

Although Illinois didn’t put any additional restrictions on top of EPA’s requirements, the state is emphasizing education. Classes started in November and run through March to ensure all applicators can attend.

The training is for use of Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax. Training will review proper application methods and provide details about what label changes mean for applicators. This classroom training is mandatory if using dicamba herbicides over the top of soybeans.

“We encourage growers who plant Xtend soybeans to attend the training, even if you do not plan to apply dicamba yourself; it is important that everyone in the stewardship chain understand the proper use of these products and effective weed management principles,” according to the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. More information is available at www.ifca.com/IllinoisDicambaTraining.

Indiana

The Indiana Pesticide Review Board voted Aug. 30 to place all agricultural-use dicamba products under restricted use for the state. This means only certified applicators will be able to apply dicamba products this year.

The proposed rule would restrict “any dicamba containing pesticide product that (A) contains a dicamba active ingredient concentration greater than or equal to 6% and 6.5% and (B) is intended for agricultural production uses but does not also contain 2,4-D as an active ingredient; or is not labeled solely for use on turf or other non-agricultural use sites.”

Iowa

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship issued a special local need registration for XtendiMax. It requires expanded dicamba training, which includes:

  • New use pattern for dicamba-tolerant soybeans
  • Application requirements including wind speed and direction and buffers
  • Information about temperature inversions
  • Enhanced record keeping
  • Required spray tank cleanout
  • Details about off-target movement

The department worked with Iowa State University to develop these topics and will approve the training. It says the expanded training should help reduce problems associated with off-target movement. More information is available at https://www.agribiz.org/dicamba-training.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) imposed restrictions for all new dicamba formulations. All three of the formulations, XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan, are “restricted use pesticides” for retail sales to and use only by Minnesota certified applicators.

The formulations cannot be applied after June 20 to help reduce the potential for volatility and movement. MDA notes that the majority of Minnesota soybeans are still in the vegetative growth stage by June 20, and research has shown that plants in the vegetative stage are less affected than those in the reproductive stage.

The herbicides also now cannot be applied if air temperatures in fields are above 85°F or if the National Weather Service’s forecast high temperature for the nearest available location exceeds 85°F.

Missouri

The Missouri Department of Agriculture released restricted use labels for Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax dicamba herbicides after issuing more than $145,000 in fines this past year.

The restrictions call for application only by certified applicators with required training. Applicators must complete a daily online dicamba notice of application before applying the product and cannot apply dicamba before 7:30 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m. Farmers in Dunklin, Pemiscot, New Madrid, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, Butler, Ripley, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau counties cannot use the product after June 1, 2018. Other counties stop use after July 15, 2018.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) added these restrictions to reduce the risk of off-target movement.

Formulations affected include XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan—restrictions do not affect generic formulations. These regulations are on top of new EPA label changes specifically for this state.

New use requirements include:

  • Application cutoff is June 30 or first bloom (whichever comes first)
  • No dicamba applications if the actual or forecast temperature is warmer than 85°F
  • Applications must be timed to one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset
  • Drive 12 mph or less
  • Applicators must notify NDDA and include contact information; certification type; and date, time and location of application.
  • All applicators must complete a dicamba-specific training course.
  • Minimum of 15 gal. of spray solution per acre
  • No applications using 80-degree or less nozzles

Tennessee

The Department of Agriculture is mulling new rules for dicamba herbicides. The group is seeking a special local needs label to restrict new formulation use.

If approved, then the state will require certified applicators to complete dicamba-specific training through University of Tennessee Extension or dicamba manufacturers, apply product between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and use a hooded sprayer for all applications that occur from July 15 to Oct. 1.

Tennessee is also trying to prohibit application of generic formulations from May 15 to Oct. 1.

 

With nearly half of the soybeans in the U.S. expected to be planted with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend seed, equip your company and sprayer operators with these regulatory changes to avoid off-target damage in 2018. 

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