Tuesday, September 26, 2017  
 
Charts |  Futures |  Options |  Portfolio |  Weather 
 Home
 Headline News & Commentary
 Weather Station
 Futures & Cash Prices
 Local Grain Bids
 Admin Login
 
- DTN Headline News
Arkansas Sets Dicamba Limits
Friday, September 22, 2017 11:58AM CDT
By Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (DTN) -- The Arkansas State Plant Board told the herbicide industry in no uncertain terms that it does not believe new formulations of dicamba can be used without significant amounts of volatility and other off-target movement. The board unanimously approved regulations that would ban dicamba applications after mid-April, essentially limiting its use as a post-emergence herbicide.

During its fall quarterly meeting here, the Plant Board forwarded on for public comment regulations that ban dicamba applications from April 16 until Oct. 31 in 2018. That would allow fall and spring burndown or pre-emergence application of the herbicide on Xtend dicamba-tolerant seeds, but would essentially outlaw most in-season use.

The board also, after lengthy discussion, unanimously denied the consideration of a petition from Monsanto to throw out the in-season limitations. The St. Louis company called the proposed rules "arbitrary and capricious" and threatened to sue the state if the ban moved forward.

As if to put an even finer point on its feelings about the controversial dicamba issue, the board passed a resolution commending a number of Arkansas scientists for their work and guidance on the subject. That commendation included University of Arkansas weed scientist Jason Norsworthy and private consultant Ford Baldwin, both who saw their scientific integrity specifically called into question in the Monsanto petition. See DTN's story on the petition here: http://bit.ly/…

The new dicamba regulations now move into a 30-day public comment phase, with a full public hearing scheduled for Nov. 8. Once all comments, written and oral, are summarized, final regulations will be submitted to the Arkansas Legislature for codifying into law.

VOLATILITY QUESTIONED

The board invited a number of speakers, including herbicide company representatives and weed scientists, to discuss postemergence dicamba applications. It also invited comments from members of the Dicamba Task Force, which the board organized earlier in the summer and which created the proposed dicamba regulations.

Herbicide industry representatives focused on the need for better applicator education, downplaying the volatility issue and laying most 2017 dicamba damage on spray tank contamination or not following label directions.

The board made it clear that they disagreed, and that their chief concern was volatility. "We have a lot of experience applying a lot of products out here over decades," said board member, plant pathologist and Extension administrator Rick Cartwright. "But we've never seen anything like this," he said, referring to the more than 900 damage complaints in Arkansas and thousands of similar complaints across the U.S. "You apply (new dicamba formulations) to soybeans, and 36 hours later the product gets up and goes somewhere else. I don't know how you educate people to fix that.

"The product has to be fixed," Cartwright said, to the nodding of others on the board.

The board's meeting format did not allow open public comments from the crowd, including those from a group of Arkansas farmers who created a proposal they wanted the board to consider, which would have allowed in-season dicamba use. Their proposal called for, among other things, mile-wide buffer zones, temperature stipulations, and would require applicators to prove insurance protection against off-target movement. While board members separately acknowledged the farmer proposal, they made no reference to it in official proceedings.

Board members did show clear concern that they were putting Arkansas farmers at a disadvantage by imposing the ban period. The Mississippi Delta region has some of the worst infestations of glyphosate-tolerant Palmer amaranth and other weeds, which the Xtend seed and herbicide technologies were created to deal with.

Board members asked DuPont, Monsanto and BASF representatives if there was any news on a dicamba formulation that showed less or no volatility. They were told that while companies continued to work on improving formulations, there was no such thing currently as nonvolatile dicamba.

Monsanto representative Ty Vaughn, vice president of global regulatory affairs for Monsanto, offered the board 3-inch binders full of lab and "humidome" research studies that he said showed volatility was not a great issue with the company's XtendiMax dicamba herbicide. Board members, however, took greater interest in the presentation by weed scientist Jason Norsworthy, which summarized volatility studies both from his trials and those from several other states.

Those trials, conducted in production fields, showed that new dicamba products such as XtendiMax and BASF's Engenia had significantly lower amounts of volatility than older Clarity formulations immediately after application. However, the trials showed that new formulations continued to volatilize 36 to 72 hours after application. Over time, Norsworthy said, the amount of volatility between old and new formulations was not statistically different.

Monsanto and BASF presenters noted that much of the movement and damage seen in 2017 did not cause yield losses in soybean fields. That has been a rallying cry of many farmers who are supportive of the Xtend technology, including some social media posts showing increased pods on soybeans damaged by dicamba drift.

Board members repeatedly said yield losses were not the issue: Off-target movement was against the law, members said, regardless of the damage inflicted.

"This thing about not seeing yield loss, or they'll grow out of it, that's beyond the point when you're talking about pesticide stewardship," Cartwright told DTN after the meeting.

In a surprise to some attending the board meeting, Board Chairman Otis Howe presented the petition issued by Monsanto demanding the board reject the proposed regulations on dicamba.

That petition, among other things, called the damage reports in Arkansas an "aberration" and a regional issue not worthy of a statewide ban. Board members bristled at the repeated use of the term "arbitrary" leveled at the regulations it was creating.

"We've met and discussed this (dicamba) issue how many times," board member Larry Jayroe said, clearly agitated. "How can that be called arbitrary and capricious?"

"This is hardly arbitrary," Cartwright agreed.

Monsanto has not yet responded to DTN questions on whether it will follow through on a lawsuit over the matter.

In a related dicamba issue, the board approved new language that would increase fines for "egregious" misuse of dicamba or similar herbicides to $25,000 per incidence. The state penalty cap had been $1,000.

COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS

The dicamba application regulations now are subject to a 30-day public comment period, followed by a public hearing on Nov. 8. The board was told that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had given a green light to proposals created by the Dicamba Task Force in August. Since the Plant Board's proposed regulations were essentially identical to the task force recommendations, the proposal can move forward for public comment.

Plant board members were told to "pack a bag" for that hearing, as state staff expect a lengthy hearing with potentially hundreds of attendees and speakers. The board will consider both written comments and those made at the hearing, then issue a final proposed rule to the Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for final rule approval. A location for that public hearing was not yet announced.

Greg D. Horstmeier can be reached at greg.horstmeier@dtn.com

(BAS, SRK)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Monday, September 25, 2017 1:09PM CDT
Friday, September 22, 2017 1:36PM CDT
Monday, September 18, 2017 1:14PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Monday, September 25, 2017 8:08AM CDT
Monday, September 25, 2017 8:06AM CDT
Monday, September 25, 2017 8:05AM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 10:52AM CDT
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:10AM CDT
Thursday, September 14, 2017 10:48AM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 7:20AM CDT
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:03PM CDT
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 10:07AM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Thursday, September 21, 2017 11:43AM CDT
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 12:32PM CDT
Friday, August 25, 2017 8:37PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 2:02PM CDT
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 4:38PM CDT
Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:44PM CDT
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 2:07PM CDT
Monday, September 25, 2017 1:12PM CDT
Friday, September 22, 2017 2:23PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Monday, September 18, 2017 6:14PM CDT
Friday, September 8, 2017 7:52PM CDT
Friday, September 1, 2017 2:58PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, September 22, 2017 3:23PM CDT
Friday, September 1, 2017 3:27PM CDT
Friday, August 18, 2017 2:30PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Thursday, August 24, 2017 11:32AM CDT
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 2:50PM CDT
Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:02PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 10:25AM CDT
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 6:53AM CDT
Monday, September 11, 2017 5:48PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Monday, September 18, 2017 1:51PM CDT
Friday, September 15, 2017 9:35AM CDT
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 2:37PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Monday, September 25, 2017 4:27PM CDT
Friday, September 22, 2017 11:04AM CDT
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 5:07PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:30AM CDT
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:45PM CDT
Friday, August 18, 2017 11:33AM CDT
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN