The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a temporary extension to the registration of dicamba, including product sold under the trade name XtendiMax, through 2020.
The EPA has fielded numerous complaints about spray drift from the product, the majority of which stem from dicamba sprayed on herbicide-tolerant crops, initially released in 2017.
The EPA says in a press release that there was a need for a timely decision because farmers are currently planning next year’s crops. According to EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, “By extending the registration for another two years with important new label updates that place additional restrictions on the product, we are providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.”
Even though new formulations of dicamba are engineered to be less volatile than older formulations, the herbicide was still singled out as the cause of damage on millions of acres of crops in the U.S.
Bayer has said that the problem stems from incorrect application, not the product itself. Ryan Rubischko, head of Bayer’s dicamba portfolio, expressed his approval of the EPA’s decision. “This continued registration, based on an extensive review, keeps this much-needed weed control tool in the hands of growers.”
The changes to the registration include:
- Applicators must be certified – formerly uncertified applicators could apply product under supervision of accredited applicators;
- Application must be in-crop within 45 days of seeding soybeans and within 60 days of seeding cotton
- In counties where there may be endangered species, the downwind buffer of 110 feet will remain (the downwind buffer is required everywhere regardless of endangered species) but an additional 57 foot buffer is required on the the remainder of the field; and,
- Applications must be in the window between one hour after sunrise and two hours before sunset.