State Regulators Brace for Another Year of Dicamba Injury

DTN writer Emily Unglesbee reported yesterday that, “State pesticide regulators are responsible for overseeing a lot of chemicals, but some expect to police only one this year — dicamba.

“‘So many resources are dedicated to dicamba that it has made my program a one-issue program,’ said Tim Creger, a pesticide regulator with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. As his agency has spent the past two years investigating roughly 200 complaints of off-target dicamba injury, they have had to delay or abandon routine pesticide inspections, Creger told regulators, scientists and agrichemical companies gathered for the annual meeting of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officers in Virginia this week.

“‘We have a lot of other [pesticide regulation] problems — I’ve had to push those off for two years,’ Creger said. ‘Other issues that don’t have the priority this product has are not getting the service they deserve. And that’s what it looks to me again coming up in 2019 — it’s deja vu.'”

The DTN article noted that, “With 60 million acres of dicamba-tolerant Xtend crops expected this spring, many soybeans and cotton fields will be protected from damage from dicamba drift and volatility, noted Dan Kenny, herbicide branch chief for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. ‘We don’t want that to create a false positive,’ he said. ‘We want to focus not just on [soybean] acres this year, but also other crops that might be sensitive … and also focus on effects on perennial crops. Vineyards, orchards, things like that.’

“Several state pesticide officials assured Kenny they expect the federal agency to get plenty of data on dicamba injury this year. ‘We don’t have an apparent end in sight,’ Creger said of off-target dicamba movement. ‘And I’m not alone in this — it just seems like there is no end in sight to the problems this will generate for us.'”

Yesterday’s article added, “Leo Reed, pesticide licensing manager for the Office of Indiana State Chemist, agreed. For two years in a row, Indiana has fielded record numbers of dicamba injury complaints. The OISC spent $1.2 million in 2018 alone investigating dicamba injury claims. The agency’s laboratory is still processing injury claims from 2018 and is braced for more. ‘How long we can sustain that is anybody’s guess,’ Reed said. ‘This devalues our agencies in as much as it’s literally all we’ve done for the last two years. Routine inspections have plummeted.'”

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