Federal registrations on dicamba products expired on July 31
By Diego Flammini
Multiple farm organizations are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reinstate an important crop protection tool.
Six Nebraska ag groups – the Nebraska Agri-Business Association, Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Grain and Feed Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association sent the federal agency a letter on Sept. 10 asking Administrator Andrew Wheeler to re-register over-the-top, post-emergence dicamba products.
In addition to permission to use the products, the groups are seeking “new, simple and understandable registrations for the dicamba products so farmers can appropriately plan for the coming year,” the Nebraska Farm Bureau said.
Earlier in the summer, a federal court removed federal registrations for dicamba products from Bayer (XtendiMax), BASF (Engenia) and Corteva Agriscience (FeXapan) because of a lack of EPA transparency about the potential damage dicamba drift can cause.
Growers can still use Syngenta’s Tavium herbicide as it wasn’t registered when the lawsuit between the National Family Farm Coalition and the EPA was filed.
The core issue is ensuring farmers have the necessary tools to protect their investments.
Many producers are close to purchasing seed for next year and need to be able to apply the proper products once crops have emerged, said Ken Boswell, a cash crop grower from Shickley, Neb.
“Simply, we need all the tools available to control weeds in our soybean fields,” he told Farms.com. “Growers are going to be ordering seed for the next growing season soon and we need to know if dicamba is going to be available for us.”
Without access to dicamba, producers may have to make difficult crop decisions.
Boswell currently farms 240 acres of corn and soybeans but may consider reducing his soybean acreage to grow more corn as additional weed control tools are available.
“In Nebraska, if dicamba isn’t re-registered for soybeans you’ll see farmers switch acres to corn,” he said. “You can control resistant weeds easier in corn versus soybeans with the herbicides that are available because dicamba is available for corn.”
In 2020, Nebraska producers planted 9.8 million corn acres and about 5 million soybean acres, the USDA reported in June.