Waiting For Dicamba’s Second Shoe to Drop

The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.

It’s a waiting game as EPA will announce dicamba’s future forward in the next month.

For review… in 2016, EPA registered the new dicamba formulations for over-the-top use (Engenia, FeXapan and Xtendimax). When the new products were registered, the EPA set the regulations to automatically expire in two years, which would allow the EPA to review and change the registration if necessary.

After the 2017 growing season, Monsanto, BASF and Corteva agreed to revised labels for the 2018 season. This included specific dicamba application training, which had more than 95,000 participants. In addition to the federal rules around applying dicamba, states also imposed additional restrictions on the products. For example, Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota put specific cut off dates for dicamba application (the revised label restricts application past R2).

Throughout this year, EPA has been monitoring reports during the application season and it’s expected the agency will announce its decision for the future of these dicamba products by the end of September.

The number of acres planted with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans doubled from 25 million acres in 2017 to 50 million acres in 2018.

According to Monsanto, the company has received 381 calls and has visited 299 of those farms with complaints as of July 12. As of July 15, Kevin Bradley at the University of Missouri assembled 605 dicamba-related injury investigations from state departments of agriculture.

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association received survey responses from more than 110 professional applicators about their experience with dicamba in 2018.  As of mid-August, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 319 misuse complaints attributed to dicamba symptoms (the total number of pesticide misuse complaints so far in 2018 totals 500, which is a historic high.) Those survey responses (in addition to their ongoing conversations with stakeholders) led to the IFCA sending four recommendations to the EPA for their consideration in weighing their decision for dicamba’s future.

So for now, we wait.