EPA report details extensive drift damage, but indicates dicamba will remain available

A new EPA report indicates that despite extensive dicamba drift damage this year, the herbicide should be available for over-the-top use in 2022.

The agency says there was little change in the number, severity, or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents compared to before EPA’s October 2020 registration decision.

But in the absence of a voluntary request to cancel the products, EPA says it’s unlikely the process to correct these problems could occur ahead of the next growing season.

EPA is committing to help states looking to restrict or narrow the over-the-top uses of dicamba.

In Minnesota, the number of drift complaints jumped from less than 130 in 2020 to more than 300 in 2021.

Bob Worth with the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association tells Brownfield they’re pushing for a state-specific label aimed at curbing off-site movement.

“An earlier cutoff of June 12th, and then a temperature (restriction), which was in there a couple years ago and then they decided to take it out. And we really do feel that should be in there.”

Worth is referring to a temperature cutoff that prohibited dicamba applications when it’s 85 degrees or warmer.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture removed that restriction ahead of the 2020 growing season.

Meanwhile, the American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau, and National Cotton Council are questioning EPA’s dicamba incident report.  The groups suggest some of the complaints could’ve been double-counted and say it’s unclear if EPA, state regulators, or others investigated complaints to verify injury or assess potential causes.

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