This means farmers will be able to continue using the controversial new dicamba formulations XtendiMax, FeXapan, and Engenia that have damaged millions of acres of cropland, gardens, and other vegetation since 2016. The mushrooming dicamba drift crisis began in 2016 will illegal post-emergent applications of older dicamba products, and has gotten worse each year, despite EPA’s conditional approval in late 2016 of new, “low-volatility” formulations.
EPA initially gave the new dicamba herbicides a two-year, conditional registration through November 2018, and many stakeholders have been waiting the agency’s decision on whether, and under what conditions, the EPA will allow post-emergent dicamba applications to continue.
- Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications)
- Prohibit over-the-top application of dicamba on soybeans 45 days after planting and cotton 60 days after planting
- For cotton, limit the number of over-the-top applications from 4 to 2 (soybeans remain at 2 OTT applications)
- Applications will be allowed only from 1 hour after sunrise to 2 hours before sunset
- In counties where endangered species may exist, the downwind buffer will remain at 110 feet and there will be a new 57-foot buffer around the other sides of the field (the 110-foot downwind buffer applies to all applications, not just in counties where endangered species may exist)
- Clarify training period for 2019 and beyond, ensuring consistency across all three products
- Enhanced tank clean-out instructions for the entire system
- Enhanced label to improve applicator awareness on the impact of low pH’s on the potential volatility of dicamba
- Label clean up and consistency to improve compliance and enforceability
EPA’s approval comes despite opposition to continued dicamba use from many farmers and leaders in the ag industry. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler is quoted in the Progressive Farmer article making it clear that the agency feels “dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers.” Via this new registration, EPA is “providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.”
Environmental Protection Agency, “Registration of Dicamba for Use on Dicamba-Tolerant Crops,” Accessed 11/1/2018.
Pat Smith, “EPA Rules on Dicamba,” DTN Progressive Farmer, October 31, 2018.