C.O.R.N. Newsletter: 2020-17
ODA Statement on Dicamba - Official Statement Regarding the Use of Over-the-Top Dicamba Products
This update is coming after the CORN Newsletter was published on Monday. The date of the Press Release is from Ohio Department of Agriculture on June 11, 2020.
Official Statement Regarding the Use of Over-the-Top Dicamba Products
On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rendered a decision which vacated the federal registrations of three of the four dicamba products that had previously been approved for use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) soybeans. This decision has caused tremendous uncertainty for soybean producers and pesticide dealers during an agronomically critical time of year. It is estimated that around 40 to 50 percent of the soybean crop planted in Ohio are dicamba tolerant varieties. The specific products impacted are: XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, Engenia Herbicide, and DuPont FeXapan with VaporGrip Technology. Tavium plus VaporGrip Technology for use on DT soybeans was not covered by this ruling.
In response to the decision, on June 8, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) issued a Final Cancellation Order that outlines specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products can be used. The registration of these products in Ohio expires on June 30, 2020. After careful evaluation of the court’s ruling, US EPA’s Final Cancellation Order, and the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code, as of July 1, 2020 these products will no longer be registered or available for use in Ohio unless otherwise ordered by the courts.
While use of already purchased product is permitted in Ohio until June 30, 2020, the Court’s decision and US EPA’s order makes further distribution or sale illegal, except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant. Application of existing stocks inconsistent with the previously approved labeling accompanying the product is prohibited. If you have questions about returning unused products, please reach out to your pesticide dealer’s representative.
For additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-728-6394, and visit ODA’s website for updates.
Dicamba takes another blow: Court of Appeals vacates dicamba registrationAuthor(s): Peggy Hall
Dicamba has had its share of legal challenges, and a decision issued yesterday dealt yet another blow when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the product’s registration with the U.S. EPA. In doing so, the court held that the EPA’s approval of the registration violated the provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), which regulates the use of herbicides and other chemicals in the U.S. Here’s a summary of how the court reached its decision and a few thoughts on the uncertainty that follows the opinion.
The challenge: EPA’s approval of three dicamba products
We first have to step back to 2016, when the EPA approved three dicamba-based products-- Monsanto’s XTendiMax, DuPont’s FeXapan, and BASF’s Engenia--as conditional use pesticides for post-emergent applications in 34 states, including Ohio. Although dicamba has been around for years, the approval came after the companies reformulated dicamba to make it less volatile and in anticipation of the development of dicamba tolerant soybean and cotton seeds. The agency conducted a risk assessment and concluded that if used according to the label restrictions, the benefits of the dicamba products outweighed “any remaining minimal risks, if they exist at all.” The EPA also provided that the registrations would automatically expire if there was a determination of an unacceptable level or frequency of off-site dicamba damage.
Before the conditional registrations were set to automatically expire in late 2018, the EPA approved requests by Bayer CropScience (previously Monsanto), Cortevo (previously DuPont) and BASF to conditionally amend the registrations for an additional two years. The approval came despite widespread concerns about dicamba drift and damage during the 2017 growing season. To address those concerns, EPA chose not to conduct a new risk assessment and instead adopted additional label restrictions that had been proposed by Monsanto/Bayer to minimize off-field movement of dicamba. Many states added restrictions for dicamba use that exceeded the label restrictions, including banning any use of the product during certain periods.
Several organizations challenged the EPA’s dicamba registration approvals. The National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, and Pesticide Action Network North America filed suit against the EPA, claiming that the agency violated both FIFRA and the Endangered Species Act in approving the product registrations. Monsanto requested and was granted permission to intervene in the case.
The Ninth Circuit’s review
To approve the request to amend the dicamba registrations, FIFRA required the EPA to make two conclusions: first, that the applicant had submitted satisfactory data related to the proposed additional use of the pesticide and second, that the approval would not significantly increase the risk of unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. The task before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was to review the EPA’s 2018 decision and determine whether there was substantial evidence to support the EPA's conclusions and amend the registrations.
The conclusion that drew the most attention from the court was the EPA’s determination that amending the dicamba registrations for two years would not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. The court determined that the EPA erred in making this conclusion when it substantially understated several risks of dicamba registration, such as:
- Misjudging by as much as 25% the amount of acreage on which dicamba would be used in 2018.
- Concluding that complaints to state departments of agriculture could have either under-reported or over-reported the actual amount of dicamba damage, when the record clearly showed that complaints understated the amount of damage.
- Failing to quantify the amount of damage caused by dicamba, “or even to admit that there was any damage at all,” despite having information that would enable the EPA to do so.
But that’s not all. The court pointed out that the agency had also “entirely failed to acknowledge other risks, including those it was statutorily required to consider,” such as:
- The risk of substantial non-compliance with label restrictions, which the court noted became “increasingly restrictive and, correspondingly, more difficult to follow” and to which even conscientious applicators could not consistently adhere.
- The risk of economic costs. The court stated that the EPA did not take into account the “virtually certain” economic costs that would result from the anti-competitive effect of continued dicamba registration, citing evidence in the record that growers were compelled to adopt the dicamba products just to avoid the possibility of damage should they use non-dicamba tolerant seed.
- The social costs of dicamba technology to farming communities. The court pointed out that a farmer in Arkansas had been shot and killed over dicamba damage, that dicamba had “pitted neighbor against neighbor,” and that the EPA should have identified the severe strain on social relations in farming communities as a clear social cost of the continued registration of the products.
Given the EPA’s understatement of some risks and failure to recognize other risks, the Court of Appeals concluded that substantial evidence did not support the agency’s decision to grant the conditional registration of the dicamba products. The EPA “failed to perform a proper analysis of the risks and resulting costs of the uses,” determined the court. The court did not address the Endangered Species Act issue.
A critical point in the decision is the court’s determination of the appropriate remedy for the EPA’s unsupported approval of the dicamba products. The EPA and Monsanto had asked the court to utilize its ability to “remand without vacatur,” or to send the matter back to the agency for reconsideration. The remedy of “vacatur,” however, would vacate or void the product registrations. The court explained that determining whether vacatur is appropriate required the court to weigh several criteria, including:
- The seriousness of the agency’s errors against the disruptive consequences of an interim change that may itself be changed,
- The extent to which vacating or leaving the decision in place would risk environmental harm, and
- Whether the agency would likely be able to offer better reasoning on remand, or whether such fundamental flaws in the agency’s decision make it unlikely that the same rule would be adopted on remand.
The court’s weighing of these criteria led to its conclusion that vacating the registrations of the products was the appropriate remedy due to the “fundamental flaws in the EPA’s analysis.” Vacating the registrations was not an action taken lightly by the court, however. The judges acknowledged that the decision could have an adverse impact on growers who have already purchased dicamba products for the current growing season and that growers “have been placed in this situation through no fault of their own.” Clearly, the court places the blame for such consequences upon the EPA, reiterating the “absence of substantial evidence” for the agency’s decision to register the dicamba products.
The court raised the issue we’re all wondering about now: can growers still use the dicamba products they’ve purchased? Unfortunately, we don’t have an immediate answer to the question, because it depends largely upon how the EPA responds to the ruling. We do know that:
- FIFRA § 136a prohibits a person from distributing or selling any pesticide that is not registered.
- FIFRA § 136d allows the EPA to permit continued sale and use of existing stocks of a pesticide whose registration is suspended or canceled. The EPA utilized this authority in 2015 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor after determining that the registration was not supported by substantial evidence. In that case, the EPA allowed continued use of the existing stocks of sulfoxaflor held by end-users provided that the users followed label restrictions. Whether the agency would find similarly in regards to existing stocks of dicamba is somewhat unlikely given the court's opinion, but remains to be seen. The EPA’s 2015 sulfoxaflor cancellation order is here.
- While the U.S. EPA registers pesticides for use and sale in the U.S., the product must also be registered within a state in order to be sold and used within the state. The Ohio Department of Agriculture oversees pesticide registrations within Ohio, and also regulates the use of registered pesticides.
- If the EPA appeals the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the agency would likely include a request for a “stay” that would delay enforcement of the court’s Order.
- Bayer strongly disagrees with the decision but has paused its sale, distribution and use of XtendiMax while assessing its next step and awaiting EPA direction. The company states that it will “work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season.” Bayer also notes that it is already working to obtain a new registration for XtendiMax for the 2021 season and beyond, and hopes to obtain the registration by this fall. See Bayer’s information here.
- BASF and Corteva have also stated that they are awaiting the EPA’s reaction to the decision, and will “use all legal remedies available to challenge this Order.”
- Syngenta has clarified that its Tavium Plus VaporGrip dicamba-based herbicide is not part of the ruling and .that the company will continue selling that product.
For now, all eyes are on the U.S. EPA’s reaction to the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and we also need to hear from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Given the current state of uncertainty, it would be wise for growers to wait and see before taking any actions with dicamba products. We’ll keep you posted on any new legal developments. Read the court's decision in National Family Farm Coalition et al v. U.S. EPA here.
Weather Potpourri: Hot and Tropical – Turning Cooler This WeekendAuthor(s): Aaron Wilson
After a long period of cold spring temperatures, the last couple of weeks have generally been above average by a degree or two in southeast Ohio to more than four degrees above average in north-central and northeast Ohio. Precipitation has usually been light during this time as well (less than 2 inches) except in a few heavier pockets across southern and eastern Ohio (Figure 1). For more information on recent climate conditions, check out the Hydro-Climate Assessment from the State Climate Office of Ohio.
Tropical Storm Cristobal came ashore in Louisiana Sunday night, and the remnants of this storm are moving northward into the central U.S. This storm will turn northeastward toward the Great Lakes on Tuesday. This will lead to a hot Tuesday across the region, with much of Ohio hitting the upper-80s to perhaps mid-90s. Scattered thunderstorms are possible in the west Tuesday afternoon and evening, with a better chance of scattered storms Tuesday night and Wednesday across the state. Weather will turn fair for Thursday through Sunday, maybe a passing shower over the weekend, as temperatures dip below average. Highs are expected to be in the 70s with lows in the upper-40s to low-50s. Overall, we are expecting light precipitation over the next seven days except in isolated locations where heavier storms occur on Wednesday (Figure 2).
The latest NOAA/NWS/Climate Prediction Center outlook for the 6-10 day period (June 14-18) shows a strong likelihood for below-average temperatures and below-average precipitation (Figure 3). Normal highs during the period should be in the upper-70s to low-80s (north to south), normal lows in the upper-50s to low-60s, with about 1.05-1.20 inches of rainfall per week. The 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center strongly supports below-average precipitation over the next couple of weeks.
Corn and Soybean Seedling BlightsAuthor(s): Anne Dorrance
Low stands or poor development of plants is, unfortunately, a common occurrence for fields that were planted in many regions of Ohio with heavy soil or are poorly drained soil. Symptoms include skips, missing plants, or dried up and brown seedlings. There may also be, wilting plants with and rotten, brown, decaying spots or lesions on the roots. Now is an excellent time to scout stands and check to be sure that the fields are not just crusted over – and that the seeds and seedlings that are there are still healthy.
While there, dig up a few of the affected plants, if the roots are brown and soft, the seedling will die eventually or be very weak. So don’t count them as part of your total stand. On soybeans check to see if there are nodules, the corky looking knobs on the roots that help legumes fix nitrogen. The cold, wet weather does not favor nodulation, so this may take a bit longer, for now, native Rhizobium spp. to get a foothold in the plants. Once the plants have nodules, they will recover and grow. On corn, the root (mesocotyl) between the young seedling and the seed, should be white. If it is dark brown or soft, this will also be a weakened plant. Some pathogens, if the environment is right, will continue to multiply and grow to kill the seedling.
For management, improving soil drainage, and having at least two ingredients in the seed treatment mixture targeting water molds (Pythium and Phytophthora) are necessary for the challenging areas in Ohio that have a history of replanting. If you do have to replant, take a look at what the seed treatment package is and note what is in the mix. The one caution, though, is if the field was submerged for more than 24-48 hours (Ponding), this is flood injury, and there are no seed treatments for this.
Farm Office Live Webinar Slated for Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m.Author(s): David Marrison
OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.
The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks. Topics to be highlighted include:
- Updates on the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program
- Prevent Plant Update
- Business & Industry CARES Act Program
- EIDL Update
- CFAP- update on beef classifications and commodity contract eligibility
- Dicamba Court Decision Update
- Other legal and economic issues
Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day. Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive
Court Ruling on Dicamba Products for Xtend SoybeansAuthor(s): Mark Loux
Article Updated on June 9, 2020 at 8:15 AM due to EPA statement Monday night.
As most readers are probably aware, last week, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case concerning the use of dicamba on Xtend soybeans. This decision essentially voided the labels for XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan that allows use on soybeans. Tavium was not included in this decision, because it was not approved for use when the case was initially filed. Last week’s entry in the OSU Ag Law blog covers this decision well and can be found here. EPA issued a statement Monday night, providing further guidance about what this decision means for the use of dicamba for the rest of this season, which can be found here. The critical part of that is as follows:
“Details of the Order
EPA’s order addresses the sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products – XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia, and FeXapan.
- Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
- Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.”
The next most immediate question concerns the options for control of glyphosate-resistant weeds in Xtend soybeans, for those growers who have not already purchased their dicamba products, since the EPA info states that no additional sales can occur. Tavium, the premix of s-metolachlor and dicamba with VaporGrip, was not part of this decision and remained an option. Tavium can be applied through the V4 soybean stage, or through 45 days after planting, whichever occurs first. Aside from this option, without the availability of dicamba to use POST, the Xtend soybean becomes just an old school Roundup Ready soybean. Weeds of most significant concern here are marestail, waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, giant ragweed, and also common ragweed in NW Ohio. The primary POST option would be a mix of glyphosate with an ALS inhibitor (Classic, FirstRate, etc.) or PPO inhibitor (Flexstar and generics, Cobra/Phoenix, Ultra Blazer). However, these five weeds are mostly glyphosate and ALS resistant in Ohio, and PPO resistance is reasonably common in waterhemp and also occurs in some common ragweed and Palmer amaranth populations. None of these mixtures will be effective for marestail control. Effectiveness on the other weeds will be variable among and within fields across Ohio. Some giant ragweed populations are still partially sensitive to glyphosate, so plant size and glyphosate rate and the number of applications make a difference. We would expect a complete lack of waterhemp control in some fields. A third option would be to replant Xtend soybean fields with another type of soybean that provides for the POST options of 2,4-D choline and/or glufosinate – Enlist, LibertyLink, or LLGT27 – should seed still be available.
The Iowa State University ICM blog (June 5) covered the issue of waterhemp control in the absence of dicamba:
“Of the alternatives available, we believe a Group 14 herbicide (acifluorfen, fomesafen, lactofen) has a better chance of controlling waterhemp than glyphosate due to the greater prevalence of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp. Group 14 herbicides should be applied as soon as waterhemp is found in a field, and a Group 15 herbicide (acetochlor, dimethenamid, pyroxasulfone, S-metolachlor) should be included to provide residual control after the POST application. Glyphosate or other appropriate tank-mix partners should be included in the mix to broaden the spectrum of weeds controlled.
Preemergence herbicides appear to be providing effective control in most soybean fields at this time, but the timeliness of application of the Group 14 herbicide will be critical. Spraying waterhemp between 0.5 and 1.5 inches in height is ideal. Follow all recommendations on the Group 14 label to maximize effectiveness, including carrier volume, nozzle type, spray pressure, spray additives, and sprayer speed.”
Lower First Cutting Hay Yields Being ReportedAuthor(s): Mark Sulc
We are hearing reports from forage producers around Ohio that first cutting yields are lower than usual. Forages took a hit from the late freezes and overall cold weather this spring, which arrested or even set back their development. Another factor reducing yields is that many producers cut earlier than usual because of the recent stretch of good hay-making weather.
I observed noticeable differences in first cut yield among forage stands that differed in soil fertility status, cutting management history, and age of the stand. Yields were higher where stands were younger, pH and fertility were at recommended levels, and proper cutting schedules had been followed in prior years. The history of appropriate management and younger stand life improved the ability of the plants to withstand and recover from the weather stress this spring.
The good news is that forage quality is expected to be higher than usual for first cutting here in Ohio. This should improve animal performance on those forages compared with our regular, more mature first cutting forage in Ohio.
If you are concerned about forage supplies this year, Chris Penrose has some excellent suggestions to consider in an article that previously appeared in the OSU Beef Newsletter and is repeated here. Below are additional resources we shared last year that can be applied this year, where forage supplies are expected to be short. More details about the various options for boosting forage supplies with annual forages are discussed.
- Emergency forages to plant for mechanical harvest: https://forages.osu.edu/news/emergency-forages-plant-yet-year-mechanical-harvest
- Emergency forages to plant for grazing: https://forages.osu.edu/news/emergency-forages-plant-yet-year-grazing
Short season forages for dairy farms: https://forages.osu.edu/sites/forages/files/imce/DIBS31-16_Short_Season_Forages_to_Fill_Supply_Gaps_for_Dairy_Farms.pdf
Time to Start Scouting for Potato Leafhoppers in Alfalfa
We are receiving reports of near- or at-threshold levels of potato leafhopper in alfalfa. As second cut alfalfa grows, farmers should scout for resurging numbers in their fields. Younger alfalfa is more susceptible to damage at lower leafhopper numbers. If alfalfa is more than seven days from a cut and plants are under normal stress, a good rule of thumb for a treatment threshold is: when the number of leafhoppers in a 10-sweep set is equal to or greater than the height of the alfalfa. For example, if the alfalfa is 8 inches tall, and the average number of leafhoppers per sample is eight or higher, treatment is warranted. If the average is seven or lower, the grower should come back within a few days to see if the population is higher or lower. Vigorous alfalfa can tolerate higher numbers, and stressed alfalfa can tolerate fewer.
For a video on scouting techniques visit https://forages.osu.edu/video/scouting-potato-leafhopper-alfalfa?width=657px&height=460px&inline=true#colorbox-inline-51399545
For a video with detail on damage, ID, and control options visit https://forages.osu.edu/video/potato-leafhopper-identification-and-damage-alfalfa?width=657px&height=460px&inline=true#colorbox-inline-397628030
Our extension factsheet on potato leafhopper in alfalfa is at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-33
An excellent resource for other forage-related questions is the Forage Page at https://forages.osu.edu/home
Hay yields off? Don’t panic, there’s time to take action!Author(s): Chris Penrose
I hope you do not have the hay season I am having. While the quality of my hay is good, my yields are incredibly disappointing. With over half of my fields made, I am around 50% of the usual crop. The two late freezes killed back growing grass last month, and honestly, I am mowing hay earlier than most years. I am also doing it much faster with my youngest son not working this summer at the Wilmington College farm due to the virus and helping on the farm. Another thing I have noticed over the past few years is that some hay fields have less fescue and orchard grass and more poor quality forage like cheatgrass reducing quality and yields.
If it looks like hay is going to be short this year, here are a few thoughts for the short term and the long term.
- First, is there a hay you can make from some property not too far from where you live? Sometimes owners may let fields be made at a reasonable price if they are faced with having to pay someone to mow it for them just to maintain open space.
- Will your fields benefit from fertilizer and lime? Applications made soon can respond this season, providing more hay.
- Do you have some unproductive cattle that can be marketed?
- Have you ever considered planting some warm-season annuals like millet, sorghum or sudangrass? They can provide a lot of tonnage until frost.
In the next month or two, you can plan for ways to extend the grazing season by stockpiling cool-season grass. We know that adding nitrogen (I recommend 50# N/Acre) will increase yields.
Brassicas, such as turnips planted in July, can provide 10,000 pounds of dry matter in 90 days. Cereal rye and oats or a combination of small grains and brassicas are options as well.
If you have access to corn stalks this fall, that is a great option. If you have cornfields, I have seen success flying on small grains and/or brassicas in the late summer, providing a great mixture of corn stalks and annuals to graze in the fall.
Finally, shelled corn can be fed this winter to stretch hay supplies if needed.
In the long term, consider improving fertility, then re-seeding fields with improved varieties of grasses and legumes if you have unimproved hay fields. It pays to use top-quality seed, especially when you factor in the total cost to re-seed then how many years you should have the crop. You should have better yield and quality. You can seed in late summer (I recommend August) or in the spring. Late summer seedings typically have fewer weed problems, but if you have a lot of deer in your area, their grazing pressure can put severe stress on the crop during the late fall and winter.
The good news is that the remaining hayfields on my farm are in much better shape, and with some fertilizer in the next week or two, we should have a good second cutting and eventually grow enough feed for the cattle we keep this winter. We are still in early June, and if we figure out our best options now and take action, we will have less of a chance of a shortage of feed this winter.
Crop Observation and Recommendation Network
C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.
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