Dicamba Registrations Voided
The 9th Circuit Court recently ruled to vacate the registrations of certain dicamba products in response to issues with soybean production. In the court’s ruling, it declared that EPA ‘substantially underestimated the risks it acknowledged.’
The decision follows thousands of complaints of off-site movement of certain dicamba products when applied to genetically modified (to be dicamba-tolerant) soybeans and cotton. These products, including XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan, were registered in 2017 to be specifically used on dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton. Manufacturers engineered the products to have less off-site movement by reducing the vapor potential; however, many adjacent farm properties reported suspected crop damage due to unintended dicamba movement. For example, a peach orchard was awarded $265M for damage attributed to dicamba off-target movement in Missouri earlier this year.
Progressively more stringent restrictions were placed on the use of these products over time, and several states enacted their own restrictions to govern when the products could and could not be applied during the growing season in an effort to mitigate risk.
Impacts will be felt by soybean and cotton growers, especially as the announcement comes midway through the production season. One source estimates approximately 60% of soybeans planted in 2020 were seeded with dicamba-tolerant varieties. The ban allows the use of existing product until July 31, 2020, but prevents any sales after June 3, 2020.
The ban does not impact uses in the environmental horticulture industry, such as turf and ornamentals.
EPA has not yet announced its plans, if any, in response to the ruling, such as filing an appeal.