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Appeals court vacates registrations of 3 dicamba herbicides

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A federal court of appeals in San Francisco ruled to vacate the registrations of three dicamba herbicides on Wednesday.

Reports say the three products impacted by the court ruling include Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan. The three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to consider the environmental and economic costs.

The Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network spoke with Dr. Bob Hartzler on the development early Thursday afternoon. He’s a Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University and serves as a weed specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach. Hartzler was surprised by the news of the court’s ruling.

“I don’t think most people were aware this was in play,” Hartzler said. “And, especially to happen at this time of the growing season. I can’t imagine the impact that it’s going to have.”

While saying he’s not a big fan of dicamba, Hartzler believes this wasn’t a good time for the label to the pulled.

“The beans are in the ground, the weeds are starting to break, and a high percentage of our farmers were planning on using dicamba in their soybeans,” he said. “Without that tool, they just don’t have good alternatives. It’s a really bad situation.”

In response to the court’s ruling, Bayer AG and Corteva Agriscience released printed statements to members of the media.

Bayer AG: We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options. If the ruling stands, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season. Our top priority is making sure our customers have the support they need to have a successful season.

The EPA conducted an extensive review and considered all relevant science prior to issuing the current registration for XtendiMax. In October 2018, the EPA extended the registration of XtendiMax and stated that “This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, growers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders. EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s growers.” The EPA’s informed science-based decision reaffirms that this tool is vital for growers and does not pose any unreasonable risks of off-target movement when used according to label directions.

Bayer stands fully behind our XtendiMax product. We are proud of our role in bringing innovations like XtendiMax forward to help growers safely, successfully, and sustainably protect their crops from weeds. We will continue working with the EPA, growers, academics, and others to maintain long-term access to this important tool.

Corteva Agriscience: Corteva is reviewing the court’s decision. We believe dicamba is an effective weed management tool for farmers that can be used safely when used according to the label.

The ruling was lauded by groups such as the Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, Pesticide Action Network North America, and the National Family Farm Coalition. Published reports also indicated the court’s ruling would not vacate the products’ registrations automatically.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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