Comment Period Opens on BASF Dicamba

Proposed BASF Dicamba Label Maintains Early OTT Use in Soybean

Jason Jenkins
By  Jason Jenkins , DTN Crops Editor
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Under a new label proposed for Engenia, BASF's dicamba product, post-emergence application of the herbicide still would be allowed in soybeans, but only until the V2 growth stage or June 12, whichever comes first. (Photo by Bob Elbert)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (DTN) -- A new proposed label for Engenia, BASF's dicamba herbicide, would maintain over-the-top (OTT) application of the product in soybeans, but only through the V2 growth stage or until June 12, whichever comes first.

On Tuesday, June 4, EPA published a notice of receipt in the Federal Register and announced the start of a 30-day public comment period for Engenia, which contains 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 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 BASF, which is available here:….

The announcement came one day after the public comment period for another dicamba product -- Bayer's KHNP0090, formerly known as XtendiMax -- ended. That proposed registration and label received more than 18,500 comments.

The proposed label for Engenia would allow applications to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton made pre-plant, at planting, pre-emergence or post-emergence over the top. However, no OTT application would be allowed in soybeans once the crop reached the V2 growth stage -- when the second trifoliate leaf is fully unfolded -- or after June 12, whichever comes first. This date is earlier than the previous Engenia label but mirrors the date proposed for Bayer's KHNP0090 (XtendiMax) label. That label, however, did not include any OTT application in soybeans.

In dicamba-tolerant cotton, no applications of Engenia would be allowed after July 30. This cutoff date is the same as the previous label and the same as proposed for the new XtendiMax label.

In addition to the changes to OTT application and cutoff date in soybeans, the new proposed label cuts the total maximum number of applications from four applications to two applications, reducing the maximum annual rate by 50% to a total of 25.6 ounces per acre in both soybeans and cotton. The product formulation for Engenia is the same as previously labeled.

The action by EPA comes nearly four months after a federal court in Arizona vacated the 2020 registrations of three previously approved OTT dicamba products -- Engenia, XtendiMax and Syngenta's Tavium. Read more about that here:….

The court's action led EPA to issue an existing stocks order for the 2024 season, allowing for the use of the herbicides already distributed from the product registrants following application cutoff dates on previously approved labels. Details about that order can be found here:….

As of May 31, sale and distribution of these three dicamba products for use in soybeans was prohibited in all states. Sale and distribution for use on dicamba-tolerant cotton continues until June 30. The application cutoff dates vary from June 12 to July 30, depending on the state and crop.

In an email to DTN, a BASF spokesperson wrote that the company's proposed label "reflects its interest in supporting growers' needs to overcome weed resistance in soybean and cotton crops." The spokesperson noted that with variable planting dates and environmental conditions across different geographies, the proposed V2 growth stage cutoff would allow for early post-emergence applications to control difficult weeds, such as Palmer amaranth, in crops.

"The 30-day public comment period is a crucial step in ensuring that the voices of interested stakeholders are heard and considered in the EPA's assessment, and we encourage farmers and industry stakeholders to contribute their insights and perspectives on the use of dicamba as a valuable tool in controlling resistant weeds," the spokesperson wrote. "BASF remains committed to working with regulatory authorities and other stakeholders throughout this process so OTT uses of dicamba remain an option for farmers in the future. It is important to note that any final product label approved by the EPA may differ from the current label proposal."

In a statement sent to DTN by the American Soybean Association (ASA), the grower organization described the proposed BASF dicamba label as "an improvement over previous proposals."

"While a V2 cutoff is an improvement over no post-emergent application, that is still a pretty small soybean plant," said Alan Meadows, an ASA director and soybean farmer from Tennessee. "There is a long time between V2 and when the crop canopy closes for our fields to be susceptible to weed reinfestation."

Meadows also expressed concern with the June 12 cutoff date proposed in the new labels for both Engenia and XtendiMax.

"In wet springs like we are seeing now, if you are delayed from planting, that June 12 date may come and go, and you won't even have seed in the ground, never mind having made a pre- or post-herbicide application," he said. "We will continue to push for a more viable label that meets the needs of U.S. soybean growers."

EPA stated that its announcement of the public comment period should not be interpreted as a registrant proposal that has been endorsed for future approval by the federal agency.

"Should EPA determine that this or any other registrant-submitted application including over-the-top dicamba meets the standard for registration of a new use under FIFRA, EPA will provide a separate opportunity for public comment on the proposed decision at a future time," the agency stated.

The last day to submit a comment regarding the proposed registration and label for Engenia is July 5, 2024. EPA will review public comments as part of the proposed application process and incorporate any feedback into the registration decision. To comment, go here:….

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