After further review of state law, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced June 8 that it will continue to allow state farmers to use four dicamba products on soybeans.
MDA earlier had announced it would not allow soybean growers to use three dicamba products — Bayer’s XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, BASF’s Engenia Herbicide and DuPont FeXapan with VaporGrip Technology — following the June 3 ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revoked EPA product registration for those products.
After consulting with its attorney, MDA officials said that under Minnesota law, an unregistered pesticide previously registered in the state may be used following the cancellation of the federal registration of the pesticide.
Josh Stamper, director of MDA’s pesticide and fertilizer management division, explained that in the absence of EPA guidance, Minnesota’s state laws were sufficient to allow the use of these stocks already in the channels of trade.
So, for now, Minnesota growers can go back to business as usual, following state requirements when using dicamba products. A fourth dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology, was not included in the court decision and was still available for use.
MDA pointed out that it does not anticipate taking enforcement action against growers who continue to appropriately use these products. However, this may change at any time pending additional guidance from EPA.
“The Circuit Court of Appeals decision to revoke the use of these products was, unfortunately, very untimely for our farmers as many had already purchased the herbicide for this growing season,” said Thom Petersen, MDA commissioner. “Timing is critical for farmers to apply the products and our further interpretation of Minnesota law allows us to use these products.”
Follow the label
All dicamba pesticide applicators in Minnesota must follow product label use instructions, including the timing restrictions explained below. Dicamba products cannot be applied to dicamba-tolerant soybeans if any of the following conditions has occurred. Whichever cutoff time occurs first will determine whether a person can apply a given product to DT soybeans until June 20:
45 days after planting. The federal labels for XtendiMax, Engenia, FeXapan, and Tavium prohibit application more than 45 days after planting.
Once the R1 growth stage begins (beginning bloom). The federal labels for XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan prohibit this. The R1 stage is when at least one flower appears on the plant on any node on the main stem.
After the V4 growth stage. The federal label for Tavium prohibits application after the V4 growth stage.
After June 20. The Minnesota Special Local Need label, which must be in possession of the applicator at the time of application, prohibits this for all four dicamba products. The SLN labels are available on the MDA website.
In Minnesota, all four dicamba products are “Restricted Use Pesticides” for retail sale to, and for use only by, certified applicators who have completed dicamba or auxin-specific training.
News of the June 3 circuit court ruling blindsided growers. As farmers continue to deal with impacts of COVID-19 on their communities, the one bright spot for them was planting this season. By the last week of May, 95% of the state’s soybeans were in the ground, 10 days head of average and 17 days ahead of last year. Soybean emergence had reached 73%, 18 days ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of average.
“We appreciate the patience of Minnesota soybean farmers as we try to find firm footing with the EPA and the courts,” Stamper said.