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Illinois Extends Dicamba Application Date, Minnesota Stands Pat

Illinois farmers who planted soybeans June 1 and afterwards have until July 15 to apply dicamba. The Minnesota deadline remains June 20.

Illinois farmers who have planted dicamba-tolerant soybeans following June 1 will now be able to apply dicamba on those soybeans until July 15. 

“Due to the extraordinary wet weather seen in this state during the spring planting season and with still over 50% of the soybean crop to be planted, the IDOA (Illinois Department of Agriculture) will extend the application date to apply dicamba until July 15,” said John Sullivan, IDOA director, in an IDOA news release. “This decision was not taken lightly, however. Farmers have been under intense pressure related to the extreme wet weather conditions, and hopefully this decision will provide some relief.”

The July 15 cutoff date applies only to Illinois farmers who planted June 1 and afterwards. 

Farmers who planted dicamba-tolerant soybeans before June 1 will remain subject to the original dicamba application cutoff date, which was planting date plus 45 days.

“The extension will not be official until the department reviews and approves the registrants’ Special Local Needs (SLN) product registration requests. The additional restrictions on dicamba set last February will remain in effect and are as follows:

  1. Prohibiting application when the wind is blowing toward adjacent residential areas.
  2. Required consultation of the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry before application, as well as compliance with all associated record keeping label requirements.
  3. Maintaining the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site.
  4. Recommendation to apply product when the wind is blowing away from sensitive areas, which include but are not limited to bodies of water and nonresidential, uncultivated areas that may harbor sensitive plant species.

Minnesota Situation

In Minnesota, though, the original June 20 cutoff date for dicamba application on dicamba-tolerant applications remains.  

The 2019 Minnesota restriction is in addition to those established by the EPA. The affected formulations are XtendiMax by Monsanto, Engenia by BASF, FeXapan by DuPont, and Tavium by Syngenta.

“We understand that late planting this season has caused concern for growers who want to use this crop-management tool,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen in a Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) news release. “However, delaying applications in an attempt to control later-emerging weeds can result in poor control and presents other risks. If you are one of the growers who has invested in dicamba technology, now is the time to use it, because late planting combined with preplant tillage can offer advantages for weed control, according to University of Minnesota Extension.”

The June 20, 2019, cutoff date is based on the MDA’s ongoing investigations and informal surveys into reports of crop damage from alleged dicamba off-target movement over the past two growing seasons. In 2017, the MDA received 253 reports of alleged dicamba drift; 55 of those were formal complaints requesting investigations. Those reports impacted an estimated 265,000 acres. After state restrictions were put in place for the 2018 growing season, the number of complaints dropped dramatically to 53 reports, of which 29 were formal complaints. Just over 1,800 acres were impacted in 2018.

This year’s cutoff date was first announced on December 10, 2018. Over the winter, approximately 5,800 pesticide applicators attended trainings across the state as required by the product labels.

Dicamba is most effective early in the growing season. Product labels recommend application on small broadleaf weeds that are up to 4 inches tall.

To manage weeds after June 20, herbicides from Group 9 (glyphosate), Group 2 (Pursuit, Classic, FirstRate), and Group 14 (Flexstar, Cobra, Cadet, Ultra Blazer) can be used. Farmers who have herbicide-resistant weeds such as waterhemp, follow University of Minnesota Extension recommendations on layering of residual herbicides such as Dual, Outlook, Warrant, and Valor.

In Minnesota, the XtendiMax, Engenia, FeXapan, and Tavium formulations of dicamba are “Restricted Use Pesticides” for retail sale to and for use only by certified applicators.

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