EPA Approves New Dicambra Formulation

EPA Approves New Dicambra Formulation

Nov 18, 2016  | Ep4213

As the Trump Administration begins to take shape, the current party in power tries to get final policy in place.

Last week, a major chemical slipped over to the approved category with little fanfare. 

Last week, a new formulation of the herbicide Dicamba was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for application on genetically modified varieties of soybeans and cotton.

Dicamba, a broadleaf herbicide marketed under brand names Diablo, Oracle and Vanquish, has been scrutinized in recent years for damage caused to crops in adjoining fields due to spray drift.

The herbicide has been marketed as the mate to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Extend soybeans. Released in 2016, before the new formulation of herbicide was approved for use, officials suspect farmers illegally applied older Dicamba formulations on Xtend beans. The resulting drift damaged thousands of acres. In Missouri alone, officials from the Show Me State received 125 complaints of crop damage due to Dicamba drift, affecting various crop varieties on over 40,000 acres.

The new herbicide option was welcomed by growers struggling with weed pressure due to chemical resistance. Multiple weeds species have developed resistance to glyphosate after years of overuse as a silver bullet for weed problems. Growers in the southern United States have resorted to manual labor to remove trouble weeds and, in many cases, followed the work with burning their fields after harvest.

Despite the recent approval of the new formula, some soybean farmers feel they are being forced into planting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in 2017. They fear neighbors who plant Xtend will spray the cheaper, older, and still illegal formulations, risking yield loss on crops sensitive to Dicamba.

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