MSGA: 2024 dicamba restrictions a positive sign for farmers

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is pleased with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) announcement that state-specific use restrictions for three dicamba herbicide products remain unchanged for the 2024 growing season in Minnesota. The restrictions are aimed at curbing off-site movement of the products.

The affected dicamba formulations are Engenia by BASF, Tavium by Syngenta and XtendiMax by Bayer. These are the only dicamba products labeled for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

The three products will have the following restrictions in Minnesota in 2024:

  • DATE CUTOFF: No application shall be made south of Interstate 94 after June 12, 2024. North of Interstate 94, use is prohibited after June 30, 2024.
  • TEMPERATURE CUTOFF: No application shall be made if the air temperature of the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

MSGA President Bob Worth, who also heads MSGA’s Drift Task Force, said MDA’s decision is a positive sign.

“This is good news and proves that farmers are following the rules the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has put in place,” Worth said. “We’re trying to make sure this product stays in the tool box, because we need all the products we can get and you never know when a product might get taken away. We also thank MDA for continuing to work hard for farmers.”

During the 2023 growing season, MDA received 11 formal complaints and four responses to an informal survey, all alleging off-target movement. This is a major decrease from a peak in 2021, which saw a total of 304 formal complaints and survey responses. The MDA implemented the date and temperature restrictions in 2022, which resulted in 32 reports of alleged off-target movement.

“These restrictions have been effective over the past two growing season at decreasing complaints of off-target movement,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “These products must be used without impacts on neighboring homes, farms, and gardens. The Minnesota-specific restrictions are based on scientific evidence and have proven to be effective.”

There are also other federal requirements for the products that appear on the product labels. Those guidelines include:

  • 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 (visit the EPA website to determine whether a 310-foot buffer is required); and,
  • Additional recordkeeping items.

In addition to the cutoff dates, Xtendimax and Tavium have crop growth stage cutoffs.

Since dicamba was first registered for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the 2017 growing season, MDA has fielded complaints each year of alleged off-site movement onto neighboring property. The chemical is highly volatile and can damage non-target plant species through spray drift and/or volatilization. Volatility is influenced by several factors including temperature, relative humidity, rate of application and crop stage. The annual totals of complaints were:

2023: 15 reports
2022: 32
2021: 304
2020: 128
2019: 20
2018: 51
2017: 249

Engenia, Tavium, and XtendiMax formulations of dicamba are approved for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans only and are “Restricted Use Pesticides.” The dicamba products are only for retail sale and use by certified applicators.

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

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