BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Agriculture will stay with its June 30 statewide cutoff for dicamba applications at this point.

“As of now, we are sticking to that June 30 cutoff date. We’ll continue to review the situation as it goes along. The weather is not cooperating with anybody right now,” Doug Owens, IDOA Bureau of Environmental Programs chief, said at the May 20 Illinois Farm News Association gathering.

The deadline is one of five new Illinois-specific regulations for use dicamba products applied over-the-top on soybeans.

Other label additions are:

  • Prohibits application when the wind is blowing toward adjacent residential areas.
  • Requires consultation of the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry before application, as well as compliance with all associated recordkeeping label requirements.
  • Maintain the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site.
  • Recommends applying product when the wind is blowing away from sensitive areas, which include, but are not limited to bodies of water and non-residential, uncultivated areas that may harbor sensitive plant species.

The number of alleged dicamba misuse complaints field with IDOA grew from 246 in 2017 to 330 last year.

“Given those numbers, that was one of the main forces that propelled us to maybe think that we needed to do something as far as state-specific requirements,” Owens said.

“The main thing we chose to do is try to eliminate those late season over-the-top applications that seemed to cause the most problems. Everything is planted and growing at that point, temperatures are higher; it’s just a bad mix as far as potential drift and volatilization issues as far as our state-specific regulations.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency extended dicamba registration for two years through December 2020 with additional restrictions for use in soybeans 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:

  • 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.

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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