The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for “over-the-top” use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba. This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders.
“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 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:
Dicamba registration decisions for 2019-2020 growing season
- 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
- Soybeans remain at 2 over-the-top 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
The registration for all dicamba products will automatically expire on December 20, 2020, unless EPA further extends it.
EPA has reviewed substantial amounts of new information and concluded that the continued registration of these dicamba products meets FIFRA’s registration standards. The Agency has also determined that extending these registrations with the new safety measures will not affect endangered species.
Under federal law, only LICENSED APPLICATORS can handle or apply dicamba. The applicator requirement on the dicamba labels means that the person doing the application must be certified by the State of Ohio as a licensed Commercial Applicator OR Private Applicator. Non-certified personnel, including Trained Service Providers under direct supervision of a Commercial Applicator, may NOT perform any activities with dicamba products, including mixing or loading.
For more information on the new dicamba rules and training requirements, read EPA’s Frequently Asked Questions here. Further guidelines for Ohio are expected from the Ohio Department Agriculture soon.