Soybeans being sprayed by John Deere tractor

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Existing stock rule issued for dicamba use

February 28, 2024 | Kriss Nelson

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) commends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing an existing stocks order to distribute and use dicamba products in 2024.

The existing stocks order results from an appeal from a Feb. 6 federal court decision in Arizona, which vacated the 2020 registrations for over-the-top (OTT) dicamba. This ruling would have prevented soybean farmers from using the important crop protection tool in the upcoming growing season.

On Feb. 14, the EPA issued the existing stocks order for dicamba products previously registered for OTT on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

“We are thankful the administration gave us the existing stock order,” says ISA Chief Officer of Demand and Advocacy Matt Herman. “Although this order allows dicamba already in the supply chain to go out this spring and be used to combat weeds this summer, we remain concerned about the ruling.”

Existing stocks order

The existing stocks order will allow for limited sale and distribution of dicamba OTT products that were already in the possession of growers or in the channels of trade and outside the control of pesticide companies as of Feb. 6, 2024.

According to the EPA, the issuance of this existing stocks order will help ensure that growers who already possess OTT dicamba and/or have purchased dicamba-tolerant seeds and are thus reliant on the availability of specific products solely for the 2024 growing season:

1.     Apply only dicamba formulations designed for use over the top of dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton rather than violating FIFRA by misusing more volatile dicamba formulations, which could lead to greater offsite movement.

2.     Apply these OTT dicamba products consistent with restrictions intended to reduce offsite movement and protect human health and the environment.

You can read the EPA's Feb. 14 existing stocks order here.

“Farmers need access to crop protection tools, plain and simple. The court’s recent decision on dicamba immediately impacted millions of U.S. farmland acres, including soybean acres here in Iowa, by removing an important tool to fight resistant weeds,” says Tom Adam, ISA district 9 director and soybean farmer from Harper. “Without them, farmers would not be capable of producing reliable, high-quality crops to meet demand - or have the financial means to do so. With spring quickly approaching, many farmers have already made planting decisions well in advance and placed significant financial investment in dicamba-tolerant crop systems, relying on EPA’s prior approval of dicamba use.

“We appreciate EPA’s decision to let farmers utilize the products as intended through the 2024 growing season. We also thank ISA advocate-members for their continued advocacy and engagement on this issue.”

Dicamba tips

ISA Research Agronomist Drew Clemmensen advises farmers to follow guidelines to ensure dicamba is being applied correctly and legally.

“The earlier you can get the herbicide applied gives you the best chance for success in weed control and preventing off-target movement,” says Clemmensen, adding utilizing the required adjuvant for these products are just as important in assuring effective weed control, application and help with minimizing off-target movement.

The deadline for dicamba application is June 12, or when soybeans reach the V4 growth stage – whichever comes first.

Brock Johnston contributed to this article.