The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today announced that it will work with the makers of four dicamba herbicide products and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement state-specific use restrictions for Minnesota during the 2022 growing season. The restrictions are aimed at curbing off-site movement of the products.
The affected dicamba formulations are Engenia by BASF, FeXapan by Corteva, Tavium by Syngenta, and XtendiMax by Bayer. These are the only dicamba products labeled for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.
Because of a high number of alleged drift complaints in the 2021 growing season, the MDA plans to register the four products for use in Minnesota in 2022 with the following additional restrictions:
- DATE CUTOFF: No application shall be made south of Interstate 94 after June 12, 2022. North of Interstate 94, use is prohibited after June 30, 2022.
- TEMPERATURE CUTOFF: No application shall be made if the air temperature of the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The state-specific restrictions would require EPA approval and would appear on the federal label for each product. The MDA will also require product makers provide approved education and training of applicators.
“We understand that dicamba is an important tool in combating herbicide resistant weeds in dicamba-tolerant soybeans,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “However, these products must be used without impacts on neighboring homes, farms, and gardens. The additional restrictions are based on scientific evidence from our drift investigations and discussions with the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Soybean Growers Drift Taskforce.”
From 2018 to 2020, the MDA had placed an annual June 20 cutoff date on registered dicamba products based on research and pesticide misuse complaints. The EPA enacted a federal cutoff date of June 30 in 2021 and did not allow states to impose additional restrictions through a Special Local Need label. The state also implemented a temperature cutoff for the 2018 growing season.
Other federal requirements for the products that will appear on the 2022 labels include:
- Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent, also known as a volatility reducing agent, be tank mixed with dicamba products prior to all applications
- Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed endangered species are located
- Additional recordkeeping items
In addition to the cutoff date, Xtendimax and Tavium have crop growth stage cutoffs.
Since dicamba was first registered for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the 2017 growing season, the MDA has fielded complaints each year of alleged off-site movement onto neighboring property. The chemical is highly volatile and can damage non-target plant species through spray drift and/or volatilization. Volatility is influenced by several factors including temperature, relative humidity, rate of application, and crop stage. The annual totals of complaints were:
2021: 304 reports
In Minnesota, Engenia, FeXapan, Tavium, and XtendiMax formulations of dicamba are approved for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans only and are “Restricted Use Pesticides.” The dicamba products are only for retail sale to and use by certified applicators.
Pesticide product registrations are renewed on an annual basis in Minnesota.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications