Later on this fall the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended over the top use of dicamba through the 2020 growing season. EPA's restrictions prohibits over the top applications of dicamba on soybeans beyond 45 days after planting. It allows applications from 1 hour after sunrise until 2 hours before sunset. While that was good news for farmers trying to control tough weeds like waterhemp it was only the first hurdle to get over to keep this technology. It also had to be approved by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture before we can use it in 2019.

Minnesota soybean farmers got the good news Monday that dicamba could be used in Minnesota in 2019 on soybeans. Not only do we need to follow all the restrictions on the Federal EPA label, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture can, and did again this year add additional restrictions. This summer in Minnesota dicamba cannot be applied over the top of soybeans beyond June 20, 2019. However, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture removed the restriction on dicamba applications above 85 degrees so that is good news.

In 2017, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture received 253 reports of alleged dicamba drift; 55 were formal complaints requesting investigations. In 2017 265,000 acres were impacted. In 2018 the Minnesota Department of Agriculture added more restrictions and the complaints dropped sharply to 53 reports and only 29 were formal complaints. In 2018 less than 2,000 acres were impacted.

"We now have two years worth of data to show what measures can and should be taken to limit the drift of dicamba to non-target crops," said Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson. "It is evident that measures put in place last year worked well and we must continue to use this product in a prudent manner."

So, Minnesota farmers can apply dicamba this summer on Extend Soybeans. However, we must continue to follow the label exactly or we could still lose this technology. Those older farmers like myself can remember walking beans and pulling weeds. That was one of my least favorite things I did and do not want to go back to it again! Remember, always read and follow label directions!