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Daily News Blog

04
Apr

State Proposes Rule to Restrict Sale of Dicamba and 2,4-D, Herbicides that Damage Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2018) In late March, the Missouri Department of Agriculture hosted a public hearing to discuss a proposed emergency rule restricting the sale and use of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D – which are known for their ability to drift off-site and damage sensitive crops. The emergency rule was introduced to prevent off-label use of specific dicamba or 2,4-D products. Thus far, dicamba is responsible for damaging approximately 325,000 acres of soybeans in the state last year.

The proposed rule will stop sales of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D between April 15 and October 1 in Missouri. The department’s goal is to prevent off-label pesticides from drifting onto neighboring property and damaging other crops. According to the department, if it chooses to pursue an emergency rule, it could become effective as soon as April 1, 2018, and expire 180 days later. The rule also requires registrants to provide a sales record by April 30 for each pesticide sold between October 1 and April 15. A proposed rule will be filed at the same time as an emergency rule to initiate the formal rulemaking process.

The draft rule language reads as follows:

  1. Pesticides that meet the conditions of this section are considered restricted use pesticides in Missouri and are only allowed to be sold or held for sale in the state from Oct. 1 of each year through April 15 of the following year.
    • Any pesticide that contains any dicamba active ingredient concentration greater than or equal to 6.5%, except if the pesticide:
      1. Contains any other broadleaf herbicide ingredient as an active ingredient; and/or
      2. Is labeled solely for use on non-agricultural use sites.
    • Any pesticide that contains any 2,4-D active ingredient concentration greater than or equal to 12%, except if the pesticide:
      1. Contains any other broadleaf herbicide ingredient as an active ingredient; 
      2. Is labeled solely for use on non-agricultural use sites; and/or
      3. Is labeled for in-crop post-emergence use in 2,4-D tolerant soybeans and cotton.
  2. By April 30 of each year, registrants will provide to the director a report of sales for each pesticide that meets the conditions of the previous subsection sold between Oct. 1 and April 15. Each report will include:
    • Complete pesticide trade name, United States EPA registration number, and quantity sold reported by container size; and
    • Business name and address for each distributor or retail outlet to whom the pesticides were sold.

In January, Arkansas prohibited the use of dicamba in agriculture from April 16 to October 31, 2018, following a vote by the state’s Legislative Council. This followed a vote last year to continue a temporary ban on dicamba into 2018. Dicamba maker, Monsanto, sued the state to keep their drift-prone product on the market despite a lengthy process of evaluation and public comment that led to the prohibition on dicamba during the growing season on Arkansas farms. However, it lost its bid to halt a statewide ban on the use of its specialty dicamba herbicide in Arkansas.

Dicamba is an herbicide originally registered for use in 1967 to control broadleaf weeds. The chemical is notoriously known to drift off-site large distances after application, but Monsanto (with its XTEND herbicide) as well as the companies BASF (Engenia herbicide) and DowDupont (FeXapan herbicide), attempted to produce formulations that did not volatilize as much as older formulations. However, damage reports did not slow, and research by weed scientists found that the new product does volatize enough to cause drift damage.

The new dicamba products were hastened by the increasing failure of another herbicide, glyphosate, to control herbicide-tolerant weeds in fields of genetically engineered (GE) crops. Weed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready GE crops led the company to reach for older, more toxic chemicals to incorporate into their new line of GE cropping systems. The company released new seeds developed to tolerate dicamba, however, it did so without a companion herbicide it was also developing, which was purported to present fewer issues with drift. Many believed the source of early reports of drift and damaged fields stemmed from farmers using older, off-label versions of dicamba on new GE seeds. The company eventually released its companion herbicide “Xtend,” a combination of glyphosate and dicamba, but reports of crop damage from drift continued. Hundreds of complaints of dicamba damage have been filed by Arkansas and Missouri, with hundreds of thousands of acres and soybean damage reported.

With predictions that over 40 million acres will be planted with dicamba-tolerant soy in 2018, action by other states to restrict the use of dicamba is needed now. Restrictions are in place or being considered in a number of states, including North Dakota, and Minnesota. If you are concerned about the use of dicamba-based herbicides in agricultural areas where you live, contact your state department of agriculture and voice your concerns. Find their contact information through Beyond Pesticides’ state pages. For more information about the hazardous associated with GE agriculture, see our program page on genetic engineering.

Source: KBIA

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  • Archives

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