On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced an additional restriction for farmers using dicamba in the state, which would be on top of the EPA label released at the end of October. The agency said this is in response to ongoing investigations and informal surveys regarding 2017 and 2018 use of the weed killer. In 2017 MDA received 253 reports of alleged dicamba drift and 55 of those were formal complaints that required investigation. The reports totaled 265,000 impacted acres. After placing additional restrictions on dicamba products in 2018 the number of complaints dived to 53 reports, with just 29 formal complaints and just over 1,800 impacted acres. The state is only adding one additional protocol aside from the federal label: a June 20 cutoff date. MDA states this cutoff is expected to help reduce the potential for damage to neighboring crops and vegetation as the majority of soybeans in the state are still in vegetative stage. Research indicates plants are less affected by the chemical in vegetative versus reproductive stages.
Unlike 2018 there will be no temperature restrictions. The additional restriction will apply to all formulations on the market. According to the EPA label, dicamba is considered a restricted use pesticide and can only be used by certified applicators. “We now have two years’ worth of data to show what measures can and should be taken to limit the potential drift of dicamba to non-target crops,” said Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner in a statement. “It is evident that measures put in place last year worked well and we must continue to use this product in a prudent manner.”