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Will Ninth Circuit Court strike dicamba down again?

There’s concern dicamba might be snatched away from soybean growers during the heart of spraying season again.

Minnesota farmer Bob Worth, who serves on the Minnesota Soybean Grower’s Dicamba Task Force, tells Brownfield he’s hearing the Ninth Circuit Court is considering cancelling registrations for the widely used herbicide like it did last June.

“They’re after all kinds of products, so you never know when they’re going to come back. And if they feel that the EPA last year did not comply with what they requested, they could come back and do it all over again.”

The Appeals Court issued a ruling June 3rd, 2020 that immediately cancelled the registrations of XtendiMax, FeXapan, and Engenia dicamba herbicides. 

The next week EPA announced growers and applicators could use existing stocks, consistent with previously approved labels. In October, the agency approved new registrations for Bayer’s XtendiMax and BASF’s Engenia, as well as Syngenta’s dicamba-based Tavium for the 2021 crop year.

Worth says he’s aware of farmers moving away from dicamba because of uncertainty, but he calls it a necessary tool in the battle against herbicide-resistant weeds.

“We have just a few products that work really good on soybeans, and dicamba is one of them. It’s just a little tougher (because) you have to make sure you follow the rules to the T. We just can’t lose these products, otherwise we’re going to be going back to cultivating. And I don’t want to do that again.”

Under the new label, EPA established a federal cutoff of June 30th for soybeans and July 30th for cotton.  Buffer requirements were also expanded, and there are additional tank mix requirements.

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