Stay tuned: Feds ban dicamba-based herbicides, but not immediately

The Brillion News

MADISON – As a result of a federal cancellation for the dicamba-containing herbicides Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protec​tion (DATCP) is informing agricultural producers and commercial pesticide applicators of the following changes:

1. If you were in possession of any of these herbicides as of June 3, 2020, you can continue to apply these products consistent with the label until July 31, 2020.​

2. You cannot distribute or sell these herbicides as of June 8, 2020. This includes unfulfilled deliveries. If you purchased these products but did not take delivery prior to June 3, 2020, you will no longer be able to take delivery of these products.

3. You must return any unused or unsold product through the proper channels through whom the product was purchased.

On June 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a cancellation order in response to a June 3 federal appeals court decision to remove the registration for certain dicamba-containing herbicides.

The order states that distribution or sale of these chemicals by any person is generally prohibited, except for the purpose of ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant. Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stock that was in their possession as of 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.​

However, there is a possibility that advocates of a total ban may go back to the court and seek an order requiring the EPA to ban all use of dicamba immediately.

Dicamba is a selective herbicide used for post-emergent control of broadleaf weeds in corn, soybeans, and a variety of other food and feed crops in the upper Midwest. It can also be used for weed control in residential areas.

The downside is this: dicamba is a highly volatile chemical that can damage non-target plant species through spray drift and/or volatilization (vapor drift).

Misuse of products containing this active ingredient may cause serious damage to non-dicamba-tolerant (non-DT) soybeans and to other sensitive crop and non-crop plants. The EPA cancellation order is available at https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/final-cancellation-order-three-dicamba-products. The EPA news release is available at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-offers-clarity-farmers-light-recent-court-vacatur-dicamba-registrations. Agricultural producers and commercial pesticide applicators in Wisconsin with questions should email DATCP's Pesticide Program at datcppesticideinfo@wisconsin.gov.

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