The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced today in a news release that is seeking approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the four companies that make dicamba to have additional restrictions placed on the Federal Label. Under the current EPA label the MDA does not have the authority to place additional restrictions for over the top applications on soybeans in Minnesota. So, that is why the MDA is asking the EPA to add these additional restrictions for dicamba use in Minnesota.

The Federal label has a cutoff application date of June 30. The MDA is asking that south of Interstate 94 the cutoff application date will be June 12, 2022 and north of Interstate 94 June 30, 2022. Apparently there were very few off target complaints for dicamba use in northern Minnesota, almost all of them were in southern Minnesota. Off target movement of dicamba is influenced by temperature, humidity crop stage and rate of application. Maybe northern Minnesota temperatures are just enough cooler that off target movement is less likely? Plus, typically beans are planted later in northern Minnesota and the beans would be smaller.

The other restriction the MDA is asking the EPA for is application temperatures. Dicamba can not be applied " if the air temperature of the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit of if the National Weather Service's forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the next day exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit."

“We understand that dicamba is an important tool in combating herbicide resistant weeds in dicamba-tolerant soybeans,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “However, these products must be used without impacts on neighboring homes, farms, and gardens. The additional restrictions are based on scientific evidence from our drift investigations and discussions with the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Soybean Growers Drift Taskforce.”

I suspect that the EPA will add the additional restrictions for dicamba use in Minnesota to the Federal Label. Dicamba is a very effective herbicide for controlling waterhemp which is a major problem for soybean farmers. So, it is good that the MDA is not trying to get it's use banned in Minnesota. However, I do not want dicamba to move into and damage my soybeans that are not dicamba tolerant either!

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