The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted five-year registrations for three dicamba herbicides, DTN reported on 27 October.
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the decision to approve new five-year registrations for two dicamba products – XtendiMax and Engenia – and extend the registration of an additional dicamba product at a press call on 27 October. A fourth dicamba over-the-top herbicide, FeXapan, had not been included in the latest registration decision, DTN said.
In 2018, approximately 41% of US soyabean hectarage was planted with dicamba-tolerant (DT) seed, according to the EPA.
“With today’s decision, farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season,” Wheeler said.
“After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment.”
All three registrations included new control measures to ensure the products could be used effectively while protecting the environment, including non-target plants, animals and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.
Other control measures to manage off-site movement of dicamba included the prohibition of over-the-top application of dicamba on soyabeans after 30 June and cotton after 30 July. Simplifications would also be made to the labelling and directions for use so that it was easier for growers to know when and how to properly apply dicamba.
EPA also announced it was limiting the scope that states had to add further restrictions to the federal labels.
Wheeler said the additional label changes to the new registrations should address problems with the original 2018 registrations that had been cited in a federal court’s decision to cancel the registrations of three dicamba herbicides – XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan.
In its ruling, the court had said that in its original registration decision, the EPA had failed to take into account the herbicides’ risk of adverse effects to the environment.
The environmental groups that brought the original lawsuit to the 9th Circuit condemned both the EPA’s latest decision and timing, a week before the US presidential election.
“Rather than evaluating and addressing the significant costs of dicamba drift as the 9th Circuit told them the law required, it appears the EPA has rushed re-approval as a political prop just before the election,” George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), told DTN in an email.
“The Center for Food Safety will most certainly challenge these unlawful approvals,” he wrote.
However, agricultural industry and commodity groups had expressed relief at the EPA decision.
“The economic damage that would result from not being able to use dicamba herbicides would be tremendous,” Kent Fountain, chairman of the National Cotton Council, was quoted as saying.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) said it was still reviewing the full details of the registration but was pleased with its initial review.
“The ASA appreciates that the EPA has announced it will re-register dicamba for 2021 and future use,” the group stated in a press release.
“The product is one of many tools integral to the success of soya growers who face different crop production challenges throughout a diverse growing region spanning 30-plus states.”