Arkansas Plant Board proposes to extend dicamba use

by George Jared ([email protected]) 686 views 

Pigweeds are becoming more resistant to herbicides and the Arkansas Plant Board has taken what could become a controversial step to tackle the problem. APS has extended the use date of the herbicide dicamba by rule until the summer.

The proposed rule would allow the over-the-top spraying of Engenia, Xtendimax, and Tavium through June 30 on soybeans and through July 30 on cotton. The proposed rule will also require a pH buffering agent, also called a volatility reducing agent, to be tank-mixed with dicamba, and will require a downwind buffer of 240 feet.

Before the rule goes into effect, it will go through a lengthy regulatory process with legislative oversight.

In accordance with the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act, the proposed rule will be open for public comment for 30 days. Following the public comment period, the board will review any comments received and determine if any changes should be adopted as a result of the comments. The rule will then go to the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Administrative Rules Subcommittee, with additional review and approval by the full Arkansas Legislative Council before becoming effective.

The current cutoff date for spraying dicamba in Arkansas is May 25. That cutoff will remain in effect until a new rule has received final approval.

A copy of the proposed rule and notice of the 30-day comment period and future Plant Board meetings will be available on the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s website.

Dicamba 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 broadleaf weeds.