MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) is grateful for EPA’s quick action enabling cotton producers to use existing stocks of three dicamba formulations this season following the recent court decision to vacate the products’ registrations.
The EPA’s cancellation order issued on Monday, and further noted in the agency’s press statement, allows the distribution or sale by commercial applicators of existing stocks (those in hand as of June 3) of Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan that were already in the commercial applicator’s possession. The cancellation order prohibits all other sale or distribution of existing stocks except to facilitate return to the manufacturer or for proper disposal. In a subsequent clarification, EPA stated that it “is permissible for a certified applicator (including a farmer who is a certified applicator) personally to retrieve or pick up Xtendimax, Engenia, or FeXapan that is temporarily stored by a retailer, distributor, or cooperative for use consistent with the requirements of the label, if the certified applicator (including a farmer who is a certified applicator) purchased the product on or before June 3.” The cancellation order was issued in light of last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacatur of the products’ registrations.
NCC President/CEO Gary Adams said EPA’s order to permit use of these dicamba formulations will be a tremendous help to U.S. cotton producers’ weed control efforts. He said the majority of cotton acres are planted to varieties that are tolerant to over-the-top applications of these herbicides -- which are vital for controlling pigweed and other weeds that have demonstrated resistance to other herbicides.
Prior to EPA’s order, Adams had conveyed to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler the critical need for access to the dicamba herbicides.
“With crops having already emerged along with the emergence of multiple weed species, timely herbicide applications would have been seriously jeopardized,” Adams stated in his letter. “Producers also were facing additional financial costs and uncertainty in terms of implementing a different weed management plan.”
Prior to EPA’s cancellation order, the NCC advised the agency that research conducted prior to availability of dicamba-tolerant varieties reported a minimum 50 percent yield-loss in fields with resistant pigweed. The NCC also provided EPA with a preliminary analysis that estimates a direct loss of at least $400 million in U.S. cotton production value in 2020 without access to the three dicamba herbicides.
“The economic damage that would result from not being able to use these dicamba herbicides,” Adams said, “would exacerbate an already tenuous economic situation for cotton farmers who are already facing depressed market prices due to ongoing trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Going forward, the NCC will work with EPA on a new registration for 2021 and beyond for these important herbicides so that cotton producers can rely on these necessary weed control technologies.
As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based NCC has a mission of ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.