The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has reached a deal with companies selling dicamba to implement new requirements aimed at minimizing the risk of drift damage to neighbouring crops in 2018.
The EPA says Monsanto, BASF and DuPont have voluntarily agreed to label changes for “over the top” use of Monsanto’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and DuPont Pioneer’s FeXapan in the U.S. next year, including:
- Classifying these products as “restricted use,” permitting only certified applicators with special training, and those under their supervision, to apply them; dicamba-specific training for all certified applicators to reinforce proper use;
- Requiring farmers to maintain specific records regarding the use of these products to improve compliance with label restrictions;
- Limiting applications to when maximum wind speeds are below 10 mph (from 15 mph) to reduce potential spray drift;
- Reducing the times during the day when applications can occur;
- Including tank clean-out language to prevent cross contamination; and
- Enhancing susceptible crop language and record keeping with sensitive crop registries to increase awareness of risk to especially sensitive crops nearby.
The manufacturers have also agreed to getting revised labels into farmers’ hands before the 2018 growing season.
“Today’s actions are the result of intensive, collaborative efforts, working side by side with the states and university scientists from across the nation who have first-hand knowledge of the problem and workable solutions,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
If needed, the EPA says it could change the requirements again, as the two-year registrations for the new dicamba formulations expire after 2018.
In Canada, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency approves and reviews pesticide labels. A spokesperson for Monsanto Canada said the company has not received any word from the PMRA about concerns or plans to revise the label, noting the number of cases of off-target movement reported in Canada were nowhere close to the cases reported in some southern states.