A popular herbicide will see more use this year after a two-year registration extension from the Environmental Protection Agency. However, Dicamba needs mandatory certification to apply on field crops.
The EPA also added more restrictions for the next two growing seasons. For one, application will have a new 57 foot buffer around the other sides of the field, in areas with endangered species, instead of just a flat 110 foot downwind buffer.
Region 7 Administrator of the EPA Jim Gulliford says for soybeans, over-the-top application of Dicamba will last for 45 days after planting instead of having set times, "We know that planting occurs in different dates. We know that the season starts, it gets interrupted by rain and it continues. So instead of having actual shutoff dates for when Dicamba can be used over the top of soybeans. We're now saying in the label that it's 45 days from the date of planting."
The EPA enhanced tank clean out instructions and the label and applications are only allowed an hour after sunrise to two hours before sunset. One big change is only certified applicators may apply Dicamba, before this change workers under supervision of certified applicators could apply.
Gulliford says, "It's going to take a registered and licensed, certified pesticide applicator to apply now. No longer can it be applied by the individual under the supervision of the licensed professional. It's got to be the professional themselves."
The herbicide came under scrutiny in 2017, when more than 5,000 complaints were lodged on the drift damage. in 2018, there were about 650 complaints. Ryan Rubischko the North America Dicamba Portfolio Lead of Bayer, which sells Dicamba resistant seed, says that is due to mandatory training and spraying restrictions.
Rubischko says, "A direct result of that is we saw significant decline in the number in inquiries or challenges that farmers face when using XtendiMax and other Dicamba formulations this past season."
Rubischko says there were 50 million acres of Xtend crops in 2018 and they project 60 million this year. So farmers are looking for more tools to control weeds.
He says any producers looking for ways to be registered for products like Dicamba should go to the Bayer RoundUp website. Nearly a 100,000 applicators have attended Bayer's XtendiMax Dicamba training.
Rubischko says, "Farmers can simply enter their zipcode and find all the different available trainings throughout their area throughout the winter months that they can attend. And we'll have a number of other resources there to help them from record keeping requirements and other things. We want farmers to be successful with this technology and we want to share those best practices. So they can take those to their own farming operations next season."
Registration for all Dicamba products will automatically expire in 2020 unless the EPA extends it again.