The Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced this month it will follow federal registration and label usage for the herbicide dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in Minnesota for the 2021 growing season.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in October it registered XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology by Bayer, Engenia by BAS and Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology by Syngenta with new control measures to curb alleged off-site movement issues like spray drift and/or volatilization.

For the last two years, the MDA placed an annual June 20 cutoff date on registered dicamba products based on research and pesticide misuse complaints. The cutoff date was not included on the federal label, but to curb off-site movement, the EPA has now limited states’ abilities to impose further application restrictions.

The new federal label requirements for the products include:

  • An application cutoff date of June 30, unless growth stage cutoff comes first.

  • Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent, also known as a volatility reducing agent, be tank mixed with dicamba products prior to all applications.

  • Requiring a downwind buffer of 240-feet and 310-feet in areas where listed endangered species are located.

  • Additional recordkeeping items.

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In addition to the June 30 cutoff date, Xtendimax and Tavium have crop growth stage cutoffs.

The MDA is also requiring product makers provide approved education and training of applicators and provide more Minnesota-specific data on the use of dicamba to inform future department decisions.

“Dicamba is an important tool for combating herbicide-resistant weeds in dicamba-tolerant soybeans,” said Thom Petersen, commissioner of agriculture. “However, it’s also important to limit impacts on neighboring homes, farms, and gardens. It will be necessary for applicators to understand and follow new label language including complete record-keeping requirements.”

Since dicamba was first registered for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the 2017 growing season, the MDA has fielded complaints each year of alleged off-site movement onto neighboring property. The annual totals of complaints were: 2017: 253 reports; 2018: 53 reports; 2019: 22 reports; 2020: 124 reports.

Petersen said it is important for farmers to understand the department will "increase our enforcement of the use of these products by examining application records."

"We believe that additional training will help ensure the label is being followed,” said Petersen. “We also look forward to working with the University of Minnesota on research to better understand how these products can move off target. Our ability to gather as much data as we can on these products is critical for their continued use in the future.”

Restricted-use pesticides

In Minnesota, the XtendiMax, Engenia, and Tavium formulations of dicamba are approved for use on dicamba tolerant soybeans only and are “Restricted Use Pesticides” for retail sale to and for use only by certified applicators.

Pesticide product registrations are renewed on an annual basis in Minnesota.