As many cotton and soybean farmers in South Georgia were well aware in 2018, our pesticide labels for the new formulations of dicamba to include Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia herbicides all expired by the end of the 2018 growing season.
If there was a year that we needed these technologies it was 2018. We had an unseasonably wet Spring which delayed many plantings and then kept us out of the field when we needed to spray our herbicides. Unfortunately, this along with perfect growing conditions led many fields to get weedy fast. These three herbicides cleaned up many fields better than any other technology we currently have available.
The problem is that so many states other than Georgia had numerous official drift complaints which begged the question would EPA allow our label to be renewed for these herbicides? Well the good news is that these labels were renewed. However, they came with some MASSIVE caveats.
Perhaps the biggest is that now Purchasers of these products & the person driving the sprayer applying these herbicides in the State of Georgia will now have to have a pesticide applicator’s license as well as be officially trained by UGA Extension in a course called Using Pesticides Wisely.
Did I mention this training will have to be done EVERY YEAR, even if you have already had it from 2015-Now? That’s right, if you plan to grow a dicamba tolerant variety of cotton or soybeans in the state of Georgia, you now have to have the Using Pesticides Wisely (approximately 2 hour long) classroom training offered by The University of Georgia Extension as does the driver of your spray rig.
I am about as thrilled about this as you the farmer are, but the Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Agriculture saw how big of an impact this training was in reducing drift complaints in Georgia and how many complaints other states without this training were receiving and they believed this to be the best way to keep these technologies available to Georgia farmers and keep our family farms in operation.
It may be another hoop to have to jump through, but it may save your farm from a lawsuit and allow your operation to be sustainable in the height of herbicide resistant weeds.