Dicamba Spray Dates

Missouri Sets Engenia Spray Cutoffs

Missouri growers will have to park sprayers if they are loaded with dicamba after certain spray dates. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Farmers in the state of Missouri wanting to use new low-volatility dicamba herbicide called Engenia in soybeans and cotton will face calendar cutoff dates in 2018.

A new state-specific section 24c Special Local Need label would halt applications in the Bootheel counties (Dunklin, Pemiscot, New Madrid, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, Butler, Ripley, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau) on June 1. Other areas of Missouri will be allowed to spray until July 15.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) indicated in a news release that it anticipates issuing similar labels for XtendiMax and FeXapan soon.

"Our intent in issuing the Special Local Need label is to protect this technology for the future," Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. "We thoroughly reviewed the new label restrictions agreed upon by EPA and the registrants, and as much research data as possible to come to this decision that I believe will protect the product and the producers."

In October, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued additional clarification to Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax dicamba labels to tighten application procedures. EPA established the three herbicides as Restricted Use Products (RUP). The move came after more than 2,700 formal dicamba-related complaints were filed in some 23 states during the 2017 production season.

Missouri is among several states expected to take additional steps to restrict how the herbicide is used above and beyond the federal restricted-use label. Tennessee is likely to announce additional label restrictions by early December. Last week the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) sent a proposal to their legislature that would ban in-crop use of dicamba between April 16 and Oct. 31. Six Arkansas farmers that had petitioned the board to extend the date to May 25 promptly took legal action to halt the more stringent ban after April 15.

The Missouri cutoff dates present unique situations for farmers that straddle the Arkansas and Missouri state lines.

In addition to setting calendar dates to park sprayers applying dicamba, the MDA label differs in the fact that only "certified applicators" would be able to apply these herbicides. The federal label allows for those under supervision of a certified applicator to apply the herbicide.

The federal label also requires applicators to get specific dicamba or auxin-herbicide training prior to purchasing the three dicamba herbicides. In Missouri, that training must be received from the University of Missouri Extension service.

Training verification must be presented to the retail establishment, pesticide dealer or distributor upon taking possession of Engenia herbicide. Applicators are also encouraged to attend training provided by the registrants.

The label states applicators in Missouri would be able to apply the herbicides between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Certified applicators must also complete an online Dicamba Notice of Application form daily prior to each application.

The MDA indicated these restrictions were determined based upon feedback received from stakeholders and analysis of alleged crop injury complaints filed during the 2017 growing season.

"Through countless conversations and meetings, we were able to reach a compromise -- one that is proactive and provides certainty for farmers as they make their decisions for 2018," Chinn said. "The process included input from growers, researchers, industry partners and farm and commodity organizations, all of whom want to see Missouri agriculture thrive and prosper."

More detailed information about how to become a certified applicator in Missouri is available at Agriculture.Mo.Gov/dicamba.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN