MSGA goes to bat for farmers
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture moved ahead with its June 20 cutoff date for spraying dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in Minnesota.
In a June 8 letter to stakeholders, MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson announced there would not be any modification of the section 24 (c) label for Xtendimax™, Fexapan™ or Engenia™ herbicides for use in dicamba-tolerant soybeans. The section 24 (c) label was implemented after 2017, when dicamba damage reports broke the century mark. Section 24 (c) is the state-level restrictions added to the U.S. EPA label.
Since that letter, Minnesota has seen extreme heat and rain conditions that have prevented farmers from being able to apply dicamba in accordance with the EPA label and Minnesota’s additional section 24 (c) restrictions, which restricted spraying when the forecasted temperature for the day is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer and established the June 20 cutoff date.
“At our June board meeting, it was pretty clear there wasn’t a consensus on whether or not to ask for an extension,” said Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) Director Bob Worth, who also chairs the MSGA Drift Task Force. “This is an emotional topic. On one hand, we have growers who want to see this technology around for years to come. On the other hand, we have growers who invested in this technology, and because of a crazy spring in terms of weather, haven’t been able to use the technology.”
At MSGA’s June 13 board meeting, MDA officials met with MSGA directors to discuss its Groundwater Protection Rule, originally called the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. During that meeting, MSGA President Michael Petefish and Worth presented both sides of the dicamba argument to MDA officials.
“We were told if we wanted to ask for an extension, we needed to submit a formal letter of request,” Worth said.
Due to another bout of hot weather above 85 degrees Fahrenheit followed by a round of rain, MSGA reconsidered and submitted a formal letter to MDA requesting a seven-day extension until June 27. MDA denied the request.
“MDA wants to make sure the damage reports we encountered in 2017 aren’t repeated this year,” Worth said. “To their credit, they stuck to their cutoff date, which they determined to be the best possible date to protect growers.”
Worth said now that the deadline has passed, it is imperative farmers follow the law.
“Many soybean fields are in the R1 stage right now,” Worth said. “The science shows dicamba drift is most damaging when those fields are flowering. Simply put, don’t be spraying dicamba or off-label dicamba. We need to make sure this technology is around for years to come. Nothing good will come from off-label spraying.”Dicamba