March 07, 2021

Proposed dicamba label unchanged from 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Pending final approval, the Illinois-specific dicamba application restrictions from 2020 will remain in place this year.

Brad Beaver, Illinois Department of Agriculture’s acting chief of environmental programs bureau and downstate field operations manager of pesticides, and Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president, said at IFCA’s virtual annual meeting they expect a ruling on the state restrictions in a few weeks.

Under Section 24(a) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows states to pursue additional label changes.

The IDA requests the same additional label changes as were approved and implemented last year — June 20 cutoff date for applications of the products on soybeans; 85-degee temperature restriction; requires consulting Field Watch sensitive crop registry before application; prohibits application if the wind is blowing toward any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site that is adjacent to the proposed field of application; and prohibits application when the wind is blowing toward an adjacent residential area.

Other requirements on both the state and federal labels include:

• Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent, also known as a volatility reducing agent, is tank mixed with dicamba products prior to all applications.

• Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed endangered species are located.

• Additional record-keeping items.

The U.S. EPA approved five-year registrations last fall for two over-the-top dicamba products — XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide — and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology.

“On the dicamba labels, I just want to assure everyone that IFCA has always had a position to support the registration of products that are approved at the federal level,” Payne said.

“When U.S. EPA approved the new dicamba label in October of 2020, we were in constant communication with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to support their registration of these products for use in Illinois. It took a little while for that to happen because the department also had to do their due diligence and evaluate how they could possibly add special restrictions to try to keep the number of complaints manageable in Illinois.”

Sharp Decline

There was a record high 723 dicamba-related misuse complaints to IDA in 2019, and that dropped to less than 150 in 2020 after further restrictions were put in place.

“Over 700 complaints in the 2019 season was really not a good track for Illinois to be on, especially as the No. 1 soybean-producing state. In 2020, those complaints dropped down to below 150, which was great progress, and the department really was dedicated to making sure that we keep these numbers low and that we didn’t roll back into higher numbers,” Payne explained.

Tom Doran

Field Editor