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EPA Opens 30-Day Public Comment Period for In-Crop Dicamba Use on Dicamba-Tolerant Crops

You have until April 30 to submit comments to the EPA.

EPA Opens 30-Day Public Comment Period for In-Crop Dicamba Use on Dicamba-Tolerant Crops 
If you’re looking to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) what you think of in-crop use of dicamba herbicide with Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, now’s your chance. 

The EPA announced today that it’s opening a 30-day public comment period regarding in-crop dicamba use for these technologies. Officials for Monsanto, which has developed the dicamba-tolerant trait and plans to market several new formulations of dicamba, say this action represents a milestone for farmers in gaining access to new dicamba weed-management tools.

A limited commercial introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton took place in 2015 with commercial launch in 2016. In soybeans, Monsanto announced commercialization plans for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans last February. 

Monsanto’s Asgrow, Channel, and regional brands, along with Corn States licensees, expect to introduce more than 70 soybean products across eight maturity groups with agronomic traits including resistance to nematodes and phytophthora root rot. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are broadly licensed to more than 100 seed brands, say Monsanto officials.

Currently, though, an in-crop application of any dicamba herbicide product on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans or Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton violates federal and state laws. No dicamba product is currently approved for those uses. 

Monsanto officials say dicamba has a decades-long history of safe and effective use in the U.S. and 25 other countries in corn, wheat, fallow and pastureland, conservation tillage acres, as well as homeowner uses. Following final approvals, farmers will be able to use dicamba in-crop with soybeans tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate and with cotton tolerant to dicamba, glyphosate, and glufosinate.

“Stakeholder comments will really make a difference,” said Kim Magin, Monsanto’s director of industry affairs, in a company statement. “Supportive letters are important for regulators to understand the various perspectives from farmers and agricultural stakeholders.”

Not all farmers are fans of dicamba-tolerant technology. Back in our December 2014 issue, Charlie Johnson, who farms with his brother, Allan, near Madison, South Dakota, said portions of their farm’s organic fields were damaged by glyphosate and Banvel (dicamba) drift from 2011 through 2014. That makes Johnson particularly leery of the new herbicide-tolerant technology.  

“There’s an assumption now that everyone has Roundup technology in their fields,” he said in the story. “In the past 10 years, there’s been a tendency among applicators that ‘you take some of my drift, I'll take some of yours.’ They forget how sensitive non-GMO soybeans are to drift.”  

Whatever your position on the technologies, the EPA is now accepting public comments though April 30. Public comments on the EPA’s proposed regulatory decision must be submitted no later than April 30, 2016. Monsanto has provided a tool that can be used for writing and submitting a comment.

Also check out: 8 Ways To Make New Herbicide-Resistant Traits Work
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