Dicamba rule approved for 2020 growing season, public comment period coming

by George Jared ([email protected]) 462 views 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s State Plant Board met Tuesday (Sept. 17) to discuss changes to the current rule regarding the use of dicamba herbicide in Arkansas during the 2020 growing season.

The Plant Board approved an amended draft rule for dicamba applications in Arkansas that keeps the current cut-off date of May 25 in effect and includes the following changes.

  • From April 16-May 25, all applications of in-crop dicamba products must be reported via the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s online registry within 10 days of the application.
  • From April 16-May 25, applicators of dicamba products must have a printed GPS map of the application available upon request.
  • The restriction on dicamba use during burn-down that was added as an emergency rule prior to the beginning of the 2019 growing season was permanently added.

The proposed rule change will now be sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson for approval.

If the governor approves the rule, there will be a 30-day public comment period followed by legislative review.

Dicamba, a weed control herbicide, has been highly controversial in its application since the Plant Board received about 1,000 damage complaints in May 2017, primarily in northeast Arkansas. Drift from the application of dicamba was suspected to be damaging other crops.

Previously, the board, which investigates and reviews complaints, enacted higher fines on improper dicamba applications meant to serve as a significant deterrent to potential violators.

Dicamba has been banned in several states. Dicamba has been used as a herbicide for more than 50 years to manage 200 broad leaf weeds.