U.S. EPA administrator Michael Regan is “extremely concerned” about potential dicamba incidents, saying the agency is investigating 2021 injury reports and preparing to take regulatory action if necessary.
Regan spoke on Sept. 20 at the 2021 National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual meeting. According to a report from the Capital Press, Regan says the EPA sent letters on Sept. 9 to Bayer, BASF, Syngenta and Corteva asking for more information on dicamba injury reports for the 2021 season.
Ryan Quarles, NASDA president, asked Regan if farmers using dicamba-tolerant crops could make 2022 planting decisions and place seed orders now knowing that over-the-top dicamba products would be available for the next growing season.
Regan didn’t give a yes or no answer, the Capital Press reports, but says the EPA is “extremely concerned” about reports of dicamba potentially doing harm. The agency is gathering information and preparing to take regulatory action if necessary.
In June 2020, a Ninth Circuit Court decision led to the cancellation of three dicamba registrations. At the time, the EPA said the decision was devastating for farmers, millions of acres of crops and America’s food supply.
Bayer's XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and BASF's Engenia herbicide were re-approved by the EPA in October 2020, as was Syngenta's Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology herbicide. The registration for in-season application goes through 2025 with some additional label requirements. Those requirements included tank mixing an approved pH-buffering agent with OTT dicamba products prior to all applications, having a downwind buffer of 240-310 feet in certain areas, prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30, and simplifying label and use directions.
The third dicamba formulation that had been cancelled by the court's decision — Corteva's FeXapan herbicide — has since been discontinued by the company.