The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) urges pesticide applicators to take special care while applying dicamba products this growing season. To prevent off-target movement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made substantial changes to the 2021 dicamba labels specifically related to application cutoff date, buffer distances, and record keeping requirements, and the MDA is reminding users that the label is the law.
For the 2021 growing season, applicators may use the three dicamba products, XtendiMax, Engenia, and Tavium, on dicamba tolerant soybeans until June 30. The federal label prohibits applications of these three dicamba products after June 30 to dicamba-tolerant soybeans. Regardless of cutoff date, applications are prohibited after V4 growth stage for Tavium and after R1 stage for XtendiMax. Additionally, the labels require a 240-foot downwind buffer and prohibits applications if the wind is blowing towards an adjacent sensitive crop. Sensitive crops include, but are not limited to, non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans, sugar beets, tomatoes, fruiting vegetables, fruit trees, cucurbits, grapes, beans, flowers, ornamentals, peas, potatoes, sunflower, and other broadleaf plant crops.
Only Certified Applicators can legally purchase and use these formulations of dicamba because they are classified as “Restricted Use Pesticides” (RUP). The label has extensive and detailed requirements for recordkeeping, and the applicator must create these records within 72 hours of the application. The MDA expects all users of these dicamba products to have fully completed records in accordance with the federal label requirements. Enforcement will be taken for any violations of the product label.
The following guidelines and resources can help applicators prevent off-target movement while applying dicamba:
- Do not apply XtendiMax, Engenia, or Tavium on soybeans if you have not attended the auxin/dicamba mandatory training offered by dicamba registrants Bayer, BASF, or Syngenta.
- To help applicators, the MDA has developed a video presentation as part of the mandatory dicamba training. This video is not a substitute for the required training.
- Applicators must consult applicable sensitive crop registries, such as DriftWatch, to identify any commercial specialty or certified organic crops that may be located near the application site. Applicators are also required to survey the site for neighboring non-target sensitive crops BEFORE spraying. Be sure to consult with your neighbors before spraying dicamba products.
- If the wind is blowing in the direction of a sensitive crop DO NOT spray until the wind has changed direction. Spraying is forbidden in these circumstances, even with a buffer.
- DO NOT spray during a temperature inversion; only spray between one hour after sunrise and two hours before sunset.
- Visit the MDA website for frequently asked questions about dicamba.
Finally, remember that avoiding spray drift at the application site is the responsibility of the applicator. The spray system and weather-related factors determine the potential for spray drift. The applicator is responsible for considering these factors when making application decisions to avoid spray drift onto non-target areas.
Since dicamba was first registered for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the 2017 growing season, the MDA has fielded complaints each year of alleged off-site movement onto neighboring property. The annual totals of complaints are:
2020: 124 reports
2019: 22 reports
2018: 53 reports
2017: 253 reports
An application cutoff date has been in effect in the state each growing season since 2018.
Pesticide product registrations are renewed on an annual basis in Minnesota.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications