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Ag Groups Seek Dicamba Stocks Order

By Ryan Hanrahan

Progressive Farmer’s Todd Neeley reported last week that “state and national associations representing soybean and cotton growers and the head of the American Farm Bureau Federation have asked EPA to issue an order to allow farmers to use existing stocks of over-the-top (OTT) dicamba herbicides after a federal court this week vacated the registrations of three of those products.”

“Some farm groups and agribusinesses said the ruling, if enforced by the federal government, risks hurting farmers financially and reducing options for fighting weeds that are increasingly developing resistance to a limited number of herbicides,” Reuters’ Tom Polansek reported.

“The groups also asked the agency to appeal the court’s decision,” Neeley wrote.

Why Registrations Were Vacated

Farm Progress’ Rachel Schutte reported last week that “the court determined EPA violated Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act rules regarding notice and comment periods for issuing the “new use” dicamba registrations in 2020. The ruling implies farmers will not have access to the popular dicamba products XtendiMax (Bayer), Enginia (BASF), and Tavium (Syngenta) for the 2024 growing season.”

“Environmental activists cheered the court for halting use of the dicamba-based herbicides, which are known to drift away and damage crops that cannot tolerate the chemical,” Polansek wrote.

Growing Season Problems

The vacated registrations are problematic for a number of reasons, Schutte reported, but the largest issue is that growers, especially in the southern United States, are nearing the growing season.

In addition, Polansek wrote that “supply chains will be significantly affected by the unanticipated chemistry demands on more than 40 million dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton acres directly impacted by this order,’ BASF said.”

The ag groups that have asked the EPA for the existing stocks order also said that “dicamba is one of just four herbicides widely available and registered for post-emergence in soybeans,” Neeley wrote. “‘Importantly, for many soybean farmers in areas with high herbicide resistance pressures, dicamba is the only remaining post-emergent herbicide to which some local weed populations have not yet developed resistance. These farmers have no other effective option to protect their crops beyond dicamba.'”

Financial Problems

In addition to problems for the upcoming growing season, the vacated registrations could hurt farmers in a time when 2024 pesticide expenses are already expected to increase to the “second largest annual pesticide expense for U.S. farmers behind 2022,” Schutte reported.

“Farm Futures market analyst Jacqueline Holland adds that the extra costs to retool crop protection plans for farmers who have to eliminate dicamba will be an extra squeeze on farmgate profit margins,” Schutte wrote.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that “‘responsible farmers that have invested in — and often taken loans out to purchase — dicamba-resistant products for the current growing season should not bear the financial burden caused by this legal dispute,'” Neeley reported.

Source : illinois.edu

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