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Dicamba in doubt for 2025 - Legal review delays availability


The use of dicamba, a weedkiller widely used by farmers, remains uncertain for the 2025 growing season. A recent court decision challenged the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval process for dicamba, requiring a new registration application. While farmers can use existing dicamba stocks in 2024, the new application faces a lengthy EPA review, making widespread use in 2025 unlikely.

The legal issues center on how the EPA reviewed registrations in 2020. Environmental groups argue the process didn't adequately assess potential risks to the environment. With the new application possibly taking over a year for approval, it could exceed the growing season timeframe.

A faster decision by the EPA is a possibility but could trigger further lawsuits. The ongoing legal battles focused on environmental regulations will ultimately determine if dicamba remains available for weed control in 2025.

"The court said that the manufacturer needed to pursue a new-use registration," said Brigit Rollins, a staff attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center, regarding the new registration process. "Bayer probably saw the R170 additional food use as the best fit as a new-use registration, but they might have a completely different reason."

The R170 designation refers to a specific type of registration required by the EPA for the proposed new use of dicamba. This designation comes with a lengthy review period, potentially exceeding 17 months.

The court order allows farmers to use existing stocks of dicamba herbicides in 2024. These products must be used according to the label instructions.

Dicamba has been a controversial herbicide due to concerns about its tendency to drift from target areas. The recent legal challenges highlight the ongoing debate about balancing agricultural needs with environmental protection.

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