Dicamba Issues in Arkansas, 2018 Considerations

Pam Smith reported yesterday at DTN that, “Arkansas farmers could see a narrow window for using dicamba herbicides in soybean and cotton crops next year. The Pesticide Committee of the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) voted on Tuesday to restrict dicamba use in row crops, allowing it only from Jan. 1 to April 15 during the 2018 season.

“The committee’s actions generally rubber-stamped the recommendations of an 18-member dicamba task force appointed by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier this summer. The task force was asked to review dicamba technology, investigate current problems with its use and application and make recommendations for future use.

“As of Sept. 11, there have been 966 dicamba misuse complaints filed in Arkansas.”

Ms. Smith explained that, “The pesticide committee recognized that the task force struggled to come to consensus and that the April 15 date was not popular with all farmers or industry representatives as that date greatly limits the post-emergence or ‘in-crop’ use of dicamba formulations known as Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan.

“However, the committee noted that farmers would still have opportunities to use the formulations in spring burndown or preemergence applications without plant-back provisions required when they used the older, more volatile dicamba formulations. Also, depending on the earliness of planting during the season, the April 15 date might allow some in-season post-emergence applications.”

Ms. Smith also pointed out that, “The spray ban is far from decided and goes before the full Plant Board during its quarterly meeting Sept. 21. Proposals favored by the full board must then go through formal rulemaking — which includes both legislative and governor approval.

There was no reference made during the meeting of Monsanto’s petition last week challenging the validity of University of Arkansas findings on their product. The company threatened a lawsuit if the state goes through with the proposed ban and if XtendiMax with VaporGrip herbicide is not approved by Arkansas for use during the next growing season. When interviewed by DTN, ASPB staff had no comment other than indicating lawyers are examining the petition.”

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