Knowing the unknowns: 2021 dicamba for dicamba-tolerant soybeans

October 7, 2020 / by David Kee, MSR&PC director of research Categories: Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, News Tips, Soybean Checkoff, Soybean News

Written by David Kee, MSR&PC director of research

Soybean harvest is progressing rapidly across Minnesota. According to last Monday’s USDA-NASS Minnesota crop progress report, 61 percent of the state’s soybean acreage are being harvested.

Farmers are also getting ready for 2021, correcting soil compaction from 2019, applying fall fertilizer, mapping weed escapes, etc. Farmers are also placing seed orders for 2021. We urge caution when considering purchase of dicamba-tolerant soybeans. At this time, it is not known if a dicamba for dicamba tolerant soybeans will be legally labeled for use in Minnesota during 2021.

In September, Bayer announced EU import approval of its XtendFlex soybeans. While we welcome EU approval of these to be imported soybeans, Minnesota growers should remember as of Oct. 7, three of the four dicamba products previously approved for over-the-top application of dicamba-tolerant soybeans had their labels vacated in June 2020. The label for the fourth product, Tavium, expires in December 2020.

EPA officials have indicated a decision considering relabeling of these products for 2021 will likely be announced in mid-October. If EPA issues an approval for the new labels, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will then evaluate their position on these product labels. Given this – and the time required for the governmental agencies to typically process these registrations – it could be mid-winter before growers will know if a dicamba for an over-the-top application to dicamba tolerant soybeans will be legally available in Minnesota for 2021.

With the current level of confusion, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Councils urge growers to develop multiple weed management options if purchasing dicamba-tolerant soybeans; if not, you might be missing an important tool. The Drift Task Force, which is led by farmers from both the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and MSR&PC, will continue to engage with stakeholders and agency officials to ensure farmers’ voices on dicamba are heard.

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