Understanding Dicamba: Part 1

This is the first in a three-part series on using dicamba.
Dicamba tolerant soybeans will be a major part of the production system in the Northern Plains again this year. Farmers who choose to use dicamba take on the responsibility for the application and must follow state and federal regulations for dicamba use.
According to Brad Ruden, Agronomy Tech Service Manager for Agtegra, there are no changes to date to the three main dicamba products registered for in-crop use for dicamba-tolerant crops: XtendiMax from Bayer, Engenia from BASF and FeXapan from Corteva.
“Although the chemistries haven’t changed, there are some new regulations that have been enacted. Farmers will have to refer to those respective companies’ websites to find out what they need to know for that particular chemistry, such as specific tank mixes and required additives,” Ruden says.
The newest labels for dicamba products shoulder a tremendous amount of responsibility on applicators.
“At Agtegra, we inform growers that they should become dicamba certified,” Ruden remarks. “It’s a label requirement that for 2019, applicators must participate in a certification class or online training for their state.”
Agtegra has already hosted a series of dicamba trainings, which are held on an annual basis. Bayer, BASF, and Corteva all offer the online trainings for farmers who might not be certified yet.
“The label is the law,” Ruden says. “Any grower needs to be applying herbicide products by the label for whatever product they’re applying, whether it’s dicamba or glyphosate, or any other chemistry.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked to rewrite and approve the dicamba product labels on a federal level, so now all dicamba products are considered restricted-use pesticides. That means that even if a producer has had the dicamba training, they still need to get licensing or certification from their state department of agriculture.
“The EPA works through individual state departments of agriculture and with state regulatory officials to enforce pesticide regulations,” Ruden says. “Licensing and certification to apply dicamba is given to either a certified private pesticide applicator or a licensed commercial applicator.”
“All restricted use products have recordkeeping requirements that also must be met,” Ruden explains. “Growers can ensure that they’re following the recordkeeping forms by working with their Agtegra agronomist or using the forms specific for each pesticide product.” Likewise, the three specific dicamba products for dicamba tolerant crops have mandated recordkeeping requirements stated on the respective product labels.
Ruden encourages farmers to develop a herbicide management plan with their agronomist to be sure everything is being done correctly and all regulations are being followed.