Comment Period Opens on Dicamba Product

Proposed Bayer Dicamba Label Removes Over-the-Top Use in Soybeans

Jason Jenkins
By  Jason Jenkins , DTN Crops Editor
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Under a label proposed for a Bayer dicamba product called KHNP0090, application of the herbicide would be limited to pre-plant, at-planting or pre-emergence in dicamba-tolerant soybeans. (DTN file photo)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (DTN) -- A proposed label for KHNP0090, a dicamba herbicide from Bayer formerly known as XtendiMax, would remove any over-the-top (OTT) application of the herbicide in soybeans and restrict its use to no later than June 12 in that crop.

On May 3, EPA published a notice of receipt in the Federal Register and announced the start of a 30-day public comment period for KHNP0090 containing the active ingredient dicamba for use on tolerant soybeans and cotton. The agency stated that because the application involves a new use pattern for dicamba, it is required to provide a 30-day public comment period on the registration application consistent with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide ACT (FIFRA).

EPA also seeks comment on the associated draft labeling that was submitted by Bayer, which is available here:….

The proposed label would allow applications to dicamba-tolerant soybeans made pre-plant, at planting or immediately after planting. No application would be allowed post-emergence or later than June 12. In dicamba-tolerant cotton, the proposed label allows for applications at-plant, pre-plant, pre-emergence and post-emergence over the top of the cotton, but no applications would be allowed later than July 30. This use in cotton mirrors the previous label for XtendiMax that was vacated.

The newly proposed label also reduces the maximum annual rate from 88 ounces to 44 ounces in both soybeans and cotton. The product formulation for KHNP0090 is the same as its predecessor.

The action by EPA comes nearly eight weeks after Bayer announced that it had initiated the registration process for its dicamba product for use in dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton in 2025. That move came about a month after a federal court in Arizona vacated the 2020 registrations of three OTT dicamba products previously approved by EPA -- including XtendiMax, BASF's Engenia and Syngenta's Tavium.

The court's action led EPA to issue an existing stocks order for the 2024 season on Feb. 14, allowing for the use of the herbicides already distributed from the product registrants following application cutoff dates on previously approved labels.

In a statement sent to DTN, a Bayer spokesperson said that the company was "doing everything we can to get the best possible label for growers for 2025 and beyond.

"We stand fully behind the technology and believe growers should continue to have access to vital crop-protection tools," the spokesperson wrote. "In preparation for the 2025 season, Bayer made a new submission to the EPA to register a low-volatility dicamba product for use with dicamba-tolerant soy and cotton. Our new submission includes some proposed label changes, which we believe are necessary to achieve an EPA approval in time for the 2025 season.

"The next steps in this registration process are up to the EPA," the spokesperson continued. "We hope the EPA will continue to move swiftly so growers have access to the technology in time for the 2025 season. We encourage growers and others to participate in this public comment period to help explain the importance of the technology.

"Meanwhile, it will be very important that growers and applicators have another successful season with over-the-top dicamba use in 2024. As always, label compliance is absolutely essential and required by law," the spokesperson emphasized.

Initial reaction to the proposed dicamba product label by soybean growers wasn't entirely positive.

"We are greatly concerned there is no post-emergent option for soybeans in this proposal," said Alan Meadows, a soybean farmer from Tennessee and American Soybean Association director, in a statement. "While we appreciate that work is underway on a new registration and the certainty it will provide supply chains, soybean farmers need a post-emergent dicamba option.

"Herbicide-resistant palmer amaranth and other devastating weeds can destroy a crop and have already developed resistance to most or all the post-emergent alternatives to which soybean farmers have access," he said. "Without post-emergent dicamba, tens of thousands of U.S. soybean farmers are sitting ducks."

Critics of OTT dicamba products immediately spoke out against any new label.

"This is a farce. Virtually nothing in this application addresses the concerns the public and the courts have about this destructive pesticide," said Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a press release. "Bayer's cynical attempt to push through another illegal dicamba approval is obviously terrible for the environment, but it's also bad for farmers, who keep getting jerked around by the promise of another registration that's destined for failure. The EPA should stop this once and for all with a quick, decisive denial."

Bill Freese, science director at the Center for Food Safety, also condemned the registration attempt.

"EPA has had seven long years of massive drift damage to learn that dicamba cannot be used safely with genetically engineered (GE) dicamba-resistant crops," he said. "Nothing Bayer might say or do can redeem this inherently hazardous GE crop system. EPA must deny this application to spare thousands of farmers further massive losses and to avert still more rural strife between dicamba users and victims of its rampant drift."

The last day to submit a comment regarding the proposed registration and label for KHNP0090 is June 3, 2024.

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