Wednesday, July 22, 2020

With future legality of dicamba in doubt, farmers struggle to make decisions as seed-buying season approaches

With the legality of the weed killer dicamba in question, many farmers are struggling to make decisions about next year as the fall seed-buying season approaches. Dicamba use in the U.S. is at or near a record high this year, with 60 million acres of dicamba-tolerant crops planted, but it's unclear what next year will look like, Emily Unglesbee reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

A federal court recently banned sales of dicamba-based products in the U.S. until late in December, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency didn't do due diligence when reauthorizing the herbicide in 2018. Reauthorization expires Dec. 20, and EPA is expected to try to reauthorize it then, if not sooner. EPA told farmers they could use existing stores of dicamba-based herbicides through July, and a federal appeals court upheld that call, but it's still unclear what legal footing dicamba will be on next year.

"The most pressing question facing farmers and the industry is whether two companies, BASF and Bayer, will be able to get new registrations approved for XtendiMax and Engenia, two over-the-top dicamba herbicides whose registrations were vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in early June," Unglesbee reports. "With no clear timeline from EPA on when it might make those decisions -- nor any information on what new labels would look like -- the Xtend cropping system is faced with uncertainty as farmers near the fall seed-buying season, with some opting to switch to other herbicide-tolerant platforms."

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