Dicamba Debate Continues As Uncertainty Lingers

Planting progress has been slow so far during the cold start to spring, but the debate over the use of dicamba is already heating up.

Now, one state’s ban on using the chemistry is being reversed. There’s some confusion in Arkansas whether farmers can actually use dicamba this year. The Arkansas Plant Board successfully banned the spraying of dicamba from April 16 through October 1, but a growing number of farmers are fighting the ban. Various county level judges granted temporary injunctions blocking the plant board’s rule just this month, which opened the door for a number of Arkansas farmers to spray the herbicide.

Meanwhile, the state attorney general is working to block the use of dicamba while the appeals process plays out. Some growers can legally use dicamba today. Monsanto told U.S. Farm Report and AgDay that its version, Xtendimax, still isn’t available in Arkansas. Monsanto says there’s too much political uncertainty right now around dicamba, but they’re working to get it into growers’ hands next year.

Arkansas is the only state which placed an in-season ban on dicamba this year. The EPA approved revised labels for Xtendimax, Fexapan and Engenia late last year but those labels include several changes and vary by state.

Now, listed as restricted use, applicators need a license to purchase and apply dicamba products. Farmers and applicators also need to attend required training to spray any of the products as well. Some share the success stories of dicamba products while produce growers voice their concerns.

AgDay and U.S. Farm Report national reporter Betsy Jibben talks with industry leaders on both sides of the debate. She talks with Joe Buergler, a farmer in northwest Indiana; Eugene Matzat, a Purdue University extension educator for ag and natural resources for LaPorte County, Indiana; Ty Witten, North America Crop Production Lead for Monsanto; Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri extension weed specialist; James Paarlberg, a tomato grower in Rolling Prairie, Indiana; Rex Williamson, an agent with Williamson Insurance Agency in Payne, Ohio; Chad Asmus, technical marketing manager for BASF; and Josh Kresel, a farmer from Westville, Indiana.