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Dicamba Label Vacated: What Are the Implications for Weed Control in Soybean?
South Dakota Ag Connection - 02/20/2024

The dicamba labels (Xtendimax, Engenia, and Tavium) for over-the-top applications in tolerant varieties have recently been vacated, which effectively means these dicamba products cannot be applied over-the-top of tolerant soybeans nationwide (Case 4:20-cv-00555-DCB). On February 14, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (abbreviated as EPA) issued an Existing Stocks Order, which allows for the use of these dicamba products if they were purchased and in possession before the label was vacated (EPA Existing Stocks Order). While the Existing Stock Order allows for the use of these products if in possession, the demand will be high, and the supply may be low. While the label is vacated, the EPA response is yet to be made. Instead of speculating what the outcome of these dicamba labels will be, farmers should start planning weed management plans today. Many chemical and seed inputs have already been purchased for the 2024 growing season. However, even if you have purchased a seed variety with tolerance to a different herbicide such as 2,4-D (or Enlist), the principles for an effective weed management plan remain the same.

While the potential loss of the dicamba label will result in the loss of a useful, effective tool for weed management, this should be a reminder that one herbicide or tactic should not be the focus of a management plan. A strong preemergence herbicide program utilizing multiple herbicide groups should be a staple in a weed management plan. Utilizing multiple herbicide groups will increase the spectrum of weed control and reduce the selection pressure on herbicide-resistant weeds. If the growing season is started off with effective weed control, less reliance will be placed on the postemergence herbicides.

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