U.S. court's cancellation of dicamba product registrations won't impact Canadian access

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A federal court in the U.S. has pulled the Environmental Protection Agency’s over-the-top (OTT) registration of three products containing dicamba — XtendiMax, Engenia, and Tavium.

The court found the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA — that it failed to follow notice-and-comment requirements — when granting its approval for these products on soybeans and cotton in 2020.

A spokesperson for Bayer says that, “The recent court ruling in the U.S. has no impact on Canada’s use or registration of Roundup Xtend 2 and XtendiMax 2 herbicide with VaporGrip technology. This ruling is a result of a procedural error and not related to the safety of the product. There are no changes to MRLs (tolerances), enabling the export of agricultural products into the U.S.

“Bayer respectfully disagrees with the ruling against the EPA’s registration decision, and we are assessing our next steps. Our U.S. team awaits direction from the EPA on important actions it may take in response to the ruling.”

Bayer’s spokesperson say the company “stands behind the safety of our products, including dicamba, which is an important herbicide for Canadian farmers.”

A spokesperson for Syngenta, makers of Tavium, confirms the U.S. ruling does not impact access to these products in Canada.

As for the U.S. judicial ruling, Syngenta is “disappointed in the court’s decision to vacate the 2020 over the top dicamba registrations. We are reviewing our legal options and await the EPA’s guidance in connection with the court’s decision.”

Dicamba is a wide-spectrum broadleaf herbicide that can, under certain conditions, cause significant crop injury and loss through spray drift. Release of the dicamba-tolerant platform in Canada occurred in tandem with application requirements to decrease off-target injury.

XtendiMax application requirements (Source: Bayer)

The Feb. 6 ruling in the U.S. creates significant uncertainty for American farmers who have already bought seed and product for the 2024 season.

The American Soybean Association says the ruling could impact more than 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

“We are clearly disappointed with the court’s dicamba ruling, but more pressing, soybean and other farmers are exceptionally concerned about what this means as we approach 2024 planting season,” says Josh Gackle, ASA president and soybean farmer from North Dakota.

The ASA and 26 soy state affiliates have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the administration for clarity on when the ruling takes effect and to issue an “existing stocks orders” for products that are cancelled. ASA also asks for the administration’s support of an appeal of the ruling and help in seeking to stay the ruling from taking effect pending appeal.

The ruling does not impact farmers ability to plant dicamba-tolerant crops, however the ruling means farmers would be limited in their ability to leverage the trait’s advantage.

“If the administration does not issue an existing stocks order so we can use the millions of dollars of product already ordered for spring planting, we are in a world of hurt,” says Gackle.  “If we cannot quickly access dicamba or acquire viable alternatives, we’ll likely have lower production this year from uncontrolled weeds—and that means even greater revenue loss.”

Bayer adds that U.S farmers who use Roundup Ready Xtend technology can check for updates at roundupreadyxtend.com.

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