NCGA Comments on Dicamba Label Change


The National Corn Growers Association is hopeful the recent dicamba-based herbicide label changes will lead to better results and stability moving forward.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the label changes, including the listing of dicamba for crop use as a restricted use product. Nathan Fields, NCGA director of biotechnology and crop inputs, explains why the label change was needed…

“Well, there was a lot of growing pains with the formulation of some of these products out here.  The companies that got the registration went to efforts to make sure that the chemistry was correct, and really did a lot of great outreach prior to these products going commercial.  But, again, the first time people used them, the first time it gets out there in the field, I think they figured out that they needed to take that training seriously, and the recommendations on that label needed to be followed pretty closely. 

“So, this is just a way of addressing some of the mistakes we saw in the first couple of years.”

For growers, he says the label change means restrictions on whom and under what conditions dicamba can be applied…

“It’s a good compromise is what happened.  So, essentially this becomes a restricted use product, so you need to have a licensee and you need to be a certified applicator to put this out.  But, most growers is they’re putting out pesticides, they’re going to be a certified applicator already.

“But, it does put that extra bit of restriction around it, it does also have some restrictions about the time of day, what it doesn’t have is restricted windows during the growing season.  So, it could still be use, albeit it still needs to be used correctly, but it can be used when the product is needed.”

The label change applies to the new low volatility dicamba products. Older dicamba products, he says, should not be used…

“Those new dicamba products, those that are rated and supposed to be used with those dicamba tolerant corn and soybean products out there, those are the ones that have these additional restrictions.  Now, if you have older formulations of dicamba out there, those are not supposed to be used, and it’s because they don’t have those additional volatility restriction.  It would be an off-label use of those, and growers need to avoid that.  They need to stick to the branded ones that go with the branded dicamba-tolerant products that they plant.”                                

Growers who are interested in using dicamba-tolerant plants and dicamba herbicides should reach out to the seed representatives to ask questions, and to learn more about the application restrictions and how to properly apply the herbicides. In doing so, Fields says that should help lead to a best-case scenario next year…

“Best case scenario, is that for next year we see a whole lot less reported off-target incidences.  That growers get the gist of it, they understand it, that they take the label to heart, and take those extra steps that are needed.  We’ll have less complaints, there will always be issues here and there, year to year, different products, but if we can get those numbers significantly down, get better co-existence between growers, better communication, better understanding, I think that would be a success.”             

Nathan Fields, NCGA director of biotechnology and crop inputs.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.