The land of Lincoln has just added additional restrictions on dicamba application, as have many other states. Dicamba has been licensed for over-the-top application for a couple of years now, and many state regulators are drowning in complaints due to off-target movement. Read on to learn more about the specific Illinois restrictions and which formulations are included. Stakeholders in the restrictions have also weighed in.
Additional Dicamba Restrictions in Illinois
Holly Spangler of Prairie Farmer reports that the Illinois Department of Agriculture has now put additional restrictions on dicamba use for 2019. The restrictions go beyond federal EPA rules, apply to over-the-top dicamba use. Guidelines will be placed on a new Special Local Needs label.
These efforts come in response to the record numbers of injury documentations in Illinois over the past couple of years. John Sullivan, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture says they had to do something about it. The department received and investigated 330 dicamba-related complaints in 2018 and 246 in 2017.
“We’ve got to see those complaints come down. We have to.”
Dicamba was first licensed for over-the-top use in 2017. Prior to the 2017 introduction of these new formulations of dicamba for use on tolerant soybean varieties, total pesticide misuse complaints averaged 110 per year between 1989 and 2016.
Doing What’s Fair
Sullivan says they still want producers to have access to the product, but that they also needed to do what’s fair.
“If we go into 2019 and see that number continue at that level, my concern is there will be an unbelievable amount of pressure to take that product [dicamba] off the market,” Sullivan says. “We don’t want that to happen. If those numbers don’t come down, we may all be sitting in front of a committee asking us to justify what we’re doing.”
“The bottom line is that dicamba has been a very effective product, it has done a good job, and we don’t want to see it removed from the market,” Sullivan says.
Drowning in Dicamba Complaints
Emily Unglesbee of DTNPF says that state regulators are preparing for another big year of dicamba complaints. Tim Creger, a pesticide regulator with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, says that the complaints have taken over his job.
“So many resources are dedicated to dicamba that it has made my program a one-issue program.”
“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.”
Pesticide licensing manager for the Office of Indiana State Chemist Leo Reed agrees with Creger.
“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.”
2019 Illinois Dicamba Restrictions
The Illinois restrictions are as follows:
- Cutoff date of June 30 for dicamba applications to dicamba-tolerant soybeans for 2019.
- No application when wind is blowing toward adjacent residential areas.
- Consultation of the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry is required before application. Must comply with label requirements for record-keeping.
- A downwind buffer must be maintained between last treated row and nearest downfield edge of Illinois Nature Preserves Commission sites.
- Application is recommended only when wind is blowing away from sensitive areas like bodies of water and nonresidential, uncultivated areas that contain sensitive plant species.
University of Illinois Extension weed specialist Aaron Hager, also provided a summary of the new Illinois restrictions for dicamba. His article was published in Successful Farming. Hager reports that the IDOA intent is to reduce potential for off-target movement of dicamba for the following formulations:
- Engenia by BASF
- XtendiMax with Vapor Grip Technology by Bayer Crop Science
- FeXapan plus Vapor Grip Technology by DuPont/Corteva
Stakeholders Weigh in
IDOA reviewed special local needs labels currently in place in other soybean-production states before making their own dicamba restrictions. They also worked with other stakeholder organizations before making their final decision.
“We now have two years of data showing how dicamba has the potential to drift off target,” says Sullivan.
“It’s obvious measures need to be put in place so farmers can continue to effectively use these products, while also protecting surrounding property and crops.”
The Illinois Farm Bureau is supportive of the IODA restrictions.
“Illinois Farm Bureau supports the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) in their administration of pesticide rules that they deem necessary to limit adverse effects to the environment,” says Richard Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president. “Dicamba-based products are useful and necessary tools in the fight against problematic weeds, helping farmers to remain productive and profitable. Illinois Farm Bureau will continue to work with IDOA and other partners into the future to find workable solutions for crop protection products.”
The Illinois Corn Growers Association also made a public comment. They say the decision may be challenging for some farm operations, but compliance with labels is important.
“The Illinois Corn Growers Association supports on-label use of crop protection products, along with farmer or applicator adherence to any additional label requirements issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. We know that Acting Director Sullivan takes seriously his obligation to protect the interests of many stakeholder groups, along with the preservation of public trust and transparency. We understand how the department came to this conclusion. It will no doubt cause difficulty for some farmers in certain areas and we are sensitive to that issue but encourage full compliance as per the 24(c) labels,” says Ted Mottaz, Illinois Corn Growers Association president.
President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Jean Payne said that this decision demonstrates Illinois agriculture’s commitment to stewardship. She added,
“Coexistence is paramount when it comes to pesticide use.”
Jennifer Walling, Illinois Environmental Council executive director believes this is a step in the right direction.
“Volatilization and drift of pesticides are environmental issues that can impact our natural areas, water, and soil as well as Illinois’ growing specialty crop industry.”
We are looking forward to working with stakeholders to research and monitor the results of the new labels.”
So far, retailer reaction to the Illinois restrictions have been positive. A firm cutoff date makes compliance for retailers easy. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) has supported a cutoff date for the past two years. The organization has been working with farmers and retailers to seek out additional education regarding negative effects of dicamba use. Jean Payne of the IFCA says,
“Even with the mandatory dicamba training, applicators were looking for more guidance on identifying sensitive areas, so these new labels also help better define sensitive areas and provide consistency among all three products to protect sensitive areas,” she says.
Other States Following Suit
Illinois is the first state in the lower Midwest to impose an application cutoff date for 2019. North and South Dakota have also applied for a June 30 cutoff date. They had the same restriction in 2018. Minnesota set a cutoff date of June 20- which is the same as last year. Arkansas will allow dicamba application through May 25. Indiana is looking at making changes in 2020. Iowa and Missouri will be sticking with the federal guidelines.
Last year, Arkansas banned in-crop use of dicamba between April 16 and October 31. Despite this regulation, they still had around 200 complaints about off-target injury. For 2019, the cutoff date for dicamba is May 25 and a half-mile buffer around fields of sensitive crops and a 1-mile buffer around specialty crops, organic crops and fields used for research. Tank mixing dicamba with glyphosate is prohibited in Arkansas dure to growing research showing that this practice significantly increases dicamba volatility.
Dicamba regulations in Indiana for 2019 will follow federal regulations. Pesticide regulators from the Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) had been working on label restrictions with a June 30 cutoff date, which was based on recommendations of a work group appointed by the Indiana Pesticide Review Board. However, after regulators met with several agriculture industry groups-including the Indiana Farm Bureau, the Agribusiness Council of Indiana and the Indiana Soybean Alliance- label restrictions for 2019 were abandoned. The regulators decided to prioritize the needs of farmers using dicamba-tolerant technology over others. It turns out that most of the state’s dicamba complaints in 2017 and 2018 were related to non-DT soybeans- not other sensitive crops and plants.
Minnesota will use similar guidelines to 2018. The cutoff date continues to be June 20, but this year there will no longer be an 85 degree temperature limitation.
The Sorth Dakota Department of Agriculture has submitted a June 30 cutoff date, but it’s still waiting for EPA approval. North Dakota has gone with June 30.
Growers should check with their local state department of agriculture for their 2019 dicamba application regulations.