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Updated: Agency will allow over-the-top use of the product on tolerant crops into December 2020, but adds more restrictions

November 1, 2018

4 Min Read

New formulations of dicamba for use as over-the-top sprays on tolerant crops will be in use at least through the 2020 season, thanks to a new ruling from EPA. In a Halloween decision, the agency extended registration for two years for use in cotton and soybeans. In its announcement, the agency said “this decision was informed by extensive collaboration between EPA, the pesticide manufacturers, farmers, state regulators and other stakeholders.”

There are label updates designed to add protection for off-target impact of dicamba use, a wide-ranging problem since the agency approved use of the product on tolerant crops. EPA has been tweaking the label for the dicamba products approved under the registration including restrictions in 2018 that made the products restricted-use herbicides, added record-keeping requirements and added spray drift mitigation measures.

“EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By extending the registration for another two years with important new label updates that place additional restrictions on the product, we are providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.”

Under this label extension, the agency approved the following additional rules:

* only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top – those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications

* over the top application of dicamba is prohibited on soybeans 45 days after planting, and on cotton the prohibition starts 60 days after planting

* applications will only be allowed from 1 hour after sunrise to 2 hours before sunset

* for cotton, in-season over-the-top use of dicamba is now limited to two applications, down from four; for soybeans the restriction remains at two applications

* In counties where endangered species may exist, the downwind buffer remains 110 feet, and there is now a new 57 foot buffer around the other sides of the field; the 110-foot down wind buffer applies to all applications, not just in counties where endangered species may exist

* the training period for 2019 and beyond will be clarified to ensure consistency across all three approved products

* enhanced tank cleanout instructions will be issued for the entire system

* enhanced label will be created to improve applicator awareness on the impact of low pH on potential volatility of dicamba

* labels will be cleaned up for greater consistency to improve compliance and enforceability

Registration for all dicamba products for over-the-top use on tolerant soybeans and cotton will automatically expire on Dec. 20, 2020, unless the agency acts to extend it. EPA noted it will continue to coordinate with states and other stakeholders on dicamba applications through the 2020 season.

“It is important that the EPA has decided to renew the registration of over-the-top use of this important weed control technology on dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans, because it presents farmers with options," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "This represents the conclusion of a very thorough scientific review, in conjunction with stakeholders, involving site visits and careful consideration of facts. Producers who use this weed control method should review the label, understand why changes have been made, and ensure that all requirements of the label are met when the 2019 use season begins.”

“Growers have indicated the need for this important tool, as a component of a complete weed management system, to fight tough-to-control weeds. XtendiMax is a highly effective, proven broadleaf weed control option that is delivering results for farmers, who have reported 95% weed control satisfaction over the last two seasons,” says Ryan Rubischko, Bayer’s dicamba portfolio lead. “This continued registration, based on an extensive review, keeps this much-needed weed control tool in the hands of growers.”

With approval of the EPA federal label, 34 soybean and cotton producing states will now work through their approval processes. Growers and applicators should check with their state agriculture department for approval updates.

Bayer will continue to take a variety of steps to help ensure customers use dicamba successfully in 2019, including:

  • Evolving and tailoring its trainings based on insights gained from the 2018 season

  • Enhancing the RRXtend Spray App to offer growers tools and resources to help them plan for successful, on-target applications

  • Continuing their technical support call center, 1-844-RRXTEND, to help customers easily access information on best practices and application requirements

Rubischko anticipates more than 60 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton will be planted in the 2019 season.  

Learn more:

Source: EPA, USDA, Bayer

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