EPA Decision This Fall Critical to ’21 Growing Season

Clint Thompson Alabama, Florida, Georgia

University of Georgia Extension weed scientist Stanley Culpepper talks with a farmer during the Sunbelt Field Day in Moultrie, Georgia on July 23, 2020.

While cotton and soybean farmers are no longer allowed to use three important dicamba products – Engenia, Xtendimax and Fexapan – for this season, questions remain on whether the products will be available for use for the 2021 season.

University of Georgia Extension weed scientist Stanley Culpepper said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will determine this fall if these herbicides will be re-registered for next season.

“The EPA is really looking at four or five factors right now. They’re absolutely looking at drift scenarios, off-target issues that have occurred this year and previous years. They’re looking at data that people like myself have generated, my colleagues have generated, industry partners have generated. They are just looking in the literature for published information,” Culpepper said. “They’re reviewing all of that currently. I’m optimistic that in October that they’ll be getting close to a decision.”

Court 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. It’s a weed killer used on millions of acres of soybean and cotton crops. It’s also instrumental in management of palmer amaranth.

Thanks to the EPA, growers and commercial applicators were able to use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020. This was the effective date of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to vacate dicamba registrations. They could use their stocks for this season up until July 31.

Culpepper is hopeful a decision will be made sooner rather than later. Especially when considering all the training that would need to be done for producers and applicators.

“If we have to train everybody again. If a grower has to decide what technology they’re going to plant, there’s a lot to do. We can’t wait until January or February or March of next year to know if we’re going to have this tool for our growers next year,” Culpepper said.

About the Author

Clint Thompson

Multimedia Journalist for AgNet Media Inc.