Dicamba drift incidents in Arkansas result in new regulations, steep fines

In Delta Farm Press

by David Bennett, Delta Farm Press

Faced with numerous fields hit with off-target dicamba drift, the Arkansas State Plant Board will soon consider a wide range of options to curb the problem. Illegal over-the-top use of dicamba on Xtend soybeans has harmed many Mid-South crops.

On Monday (August 8), the board’s Pesticide Committee passed several proposals that will now go to the full Plant Board for consideration.

“Dicamba was the only thing discussed – 2,4-D will be covered at another meeting on Aug. 19,” says Susie Nichols, Arkansas Plant Board Division Manager. “On that day, there will be hearings on incidents from (2015). Following those, Dow is on the agenda to discuss their new pesticides.”

Seeking to place additional restrictions on dicamba, the committee proposed several things:

  • Applications of DMA salt and active formulations of dicamba are prohibited in the state.

“There are exceptions to this for pastures and rangeland. However, to make an application they must be a mile from susceptible crops in all directions.”

  • From April 15 to September 15, products labeled for agricultural use containing DGA salt and sodium salt of dicamba may not be applied.

The same exception as for DMA salt would exist for pastures and rangeland — a buffer of one mile in all directions for susceptible crops

These strictures “basically mean Monsanto’s new products (M1691 and XtendiMax) can’t be used.

“The Monsanto representatives in the meeting seemed unhappy with the committee’s actions. However, University of Arkansas weed scientists have not been able to test the new Monsanto formulations. Over five years ago, we advised all the manufacturers that research has to be done before products are registered.

“(University researchers) Jason Norsworthy and Tom Barber are still waiting for those formulations. And it won’t be just a couple of months of research before approval is granted. They need two years of study to give something a thumbs up or down.”

How did the committee approach BASF’s Engenia?

“They’d allow it to be used with a 100-foot buffer zone. Also, a quarter-mile buffer downwind from susceptible crops must be maintained.”

Read the rest of the story in Delta Farm Press.

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