WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency extended dicamba registration for two years with additional restrictions for use in soybeans and cotton.

In response to the relatively high number of reports of alleged off-target crop damage related to the use of dicamba in 2017 and 2018, EPA, in cooperation with state-led agencies and registrants, implemented further changes to dicamba products registered for over-the-top application to dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton.

The following label changes were made to ensure that these products can continue to be used effectively while addressing potential concerns to surrounding crops and plants:

  • Two-year registration (until December 20, 2020).
  • 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 four to two (soybeans remain at two OTT applications).
  • Applications will be allowed only from one hour after sunrise to two 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.

The training requirements apply to the dicamba products that are registered for over-the-top application dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton — XtendiMax with Vapor Grip Technology, Engenia Herbicide, and DuPont FeXapan Herbicide.

Commercial and private applicators will once again be required to complete product-specific training for certification prior to using these products in the 2019 growing season. Non-certified personnel may not perform any activities with dicamba products, including mixing or loading.

The dates and locations for the Illinois Commercial Applicator Training and Testing Clinics are at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/psep/training/commercial. Those who wish to apply dicamba to soybeans in 2019 must take and pass the general standards and field crop exams to become certified applicators. Online training also will be acceptable, according to the EPA.

“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.”

The agency stated the action was taken after receiving input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders.

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or tdoran@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.

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