EPA Decision Helpful For Farmers With Dicamba in Stock

Clint Thompson Alabama, Cotton, Florida, Georgia, Soybeans

By Clint Thompson

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to vacate dicamba registrations was unsettling for cotton and soybean farmers. Some nerves were calmed on Monday when the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) issued an order providing farmers with clarity following the decision last Wednesday, June 3.

Culpepper

According to the EPA, growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31.

“I think if you look at the situation prior to (Monday) night, it was catastrophic. We were thinking we were not going to have the opportunity to use any dicamba. Now, we can at least use what was on the farm. That is certainly a positive in our quest to control the most problematic weed or pest in the state of Georgia, palmer amaranth,” University of Georgia Cooperative Extension weed scientist Stanley Culpepper said. “It’s good news. It certainly could be better. It certainly could be worse. Now, our growers are going to have to be super timely, super efficient and do what they do best in being timely with these tools.”

Dicamba Ruling

The ruling from a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned EPA’s approval of the use of dicamba, a weed killer used on millions of acres of soybean and cotton crops and instrumental in management of palmer amaranth.

While the EPA’s order will aid the growers, there still are questions as to how much of the chemical growers currently have in stock.

“The greater challenge is whether you’ve had enough product on the farm on the day they considered, June 3. That’s the greater challenge, and to be quite honest, we just don’t know who has what and what kind of situation our growers are in with regards to that,” Culpepper said. “If you have enough dicamba to make two applications, you should have a very effective system. If you have enough dicamba for one application, if you’re timely you should be quite effective; if you don’t have any dicamba, it makes it more challenging except for the timely grower. The timely grower can take a Liberty-based program and be as effective as a dicamba-based program.

“We certainly appreciate the EPA for doing what they did last night. They threw us a life raft. Now we’ve just got to see if we can get enough people on the raft.”

Culpepper’s Notice to Extension Agents

Dicamba (A. S. Culpepper). Just a few moments ago, the U.S. EPA released critical information on Engenia, Fexapan, and XtendiMax. The entire release can be found at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-offers-clarity-farmers-light-recent-court-vacatur-dicamba-registrations

Please visit the website for details; however, below are the details of the order:

“Details of the Order

EPA’s order addresses sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products – XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia, and FeXapan.

  1. Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
  2. Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.”

Weed Control Thoughts in Cotton (Use only labeled products, follow labeled directions and restrictions):

Scenario One:  Large pigweed with enough in-crop dicamba for two applications:  Spray labeled Roundup + dicamba immediately, wait 7 to 10 days and then make a second application; 12 days later run the layby rig with either 1) Direx + MSMA + Crop Oil if grasses are not up or 2) Roundup + Direx if grasses are up (add Envoke with layby if morningglory or nutsedge is a problem).

Scenario Two:  Large pigweed with enough in-crop dicamba for one application:  Spray labeled Roundup + dicamba immediately, wait 7 to 10 days and then make a Liberty tank mix application; 12 days later run the layby rig with either 1) Direx + MSMA + Crop Oil if grasses are not up or 2) Roundup + Direx if grasses are up (add Envoke with layby if morningglory or nutsedge is a problem).

Scenario Three: Large pigweed with no dicamba available. Sequential Liberty applications will be best approach although less effective than either dicamba system above. We were able to obtain a new state label for Liberty shortening intervals between sequential applications which will improve control.

Other Thoughts:

  1. Tavium registration was not revoked and therefore the herbicide is not impacted as of now.
  2. The Enlist program of herbicides are following a similar path to that of Engenia, Fexapan, and XtendiMax in the court system. No one can predict the future.
  3. In Georgia, we have all worked so hard to steward every pesticide and we should collectively be proud! However, this is a wakeup call in several ways. First, we must work together even harder generating sound science to preempt this type of situation in the future. Second, for those few growers who have downplayed the importance of using all pesticides wisely, what a wakeup call!!!!
About the Author
Clint Thompson

Clint Thompson

Multimedia Journalist for AgNet Media Inc.