Pritzker administration announces new Dicamba restrictions

Pritzker administration announces new Dicamba restrictions

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration is setting new rules that go beyond federal regulations for the herbicide dicamba to try to reduce the number of complaints about misuse of the popular product.

The new rules set forth will ban spraying the chemical when the wind is blowing toward residential areas, establish a June 30 cutoff date for application and other requirements.

The affected formulations of dicamba are Engenia by BASF, XtendiMax with Vaporgrip Technology by Bayer, and FeXapan plus Vapor Grip Technology by DuPont/Corteva, according to a news release.

Acting Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan said the department received substantially more complaints last year, many of which were about dicamba drifting to other fields.

“In 2018, we had about 550 complaints,” he said. “They weren’t all dicamba-related, but certainly a significant number were.”

A number of lawsuits have been filed in other states from farms seeing dicamba drifting from other fields being sprayed, killing parts of the non-dicamba ready crop.

The June 30 cutoff date may cause issues if Illinois has a wet and windy spring planting season.

“That’s a very valid concern,” Sullivan said. “We’ve taken that into consideration. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to be doing this, but it’s not a perfect world so we have to make decisions based on the information that we have in front of us.”

A number of agriculture groups, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, have endorsed the rules.

“Illinois Farm Bureau supports the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) in their administration of pesticide rules that they deem necessary to limit adverse effects to the environment,” Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said. “Dicamba-based products are useful and necessary tools in the fight against problematic weeds, helping farmers to remain productive and profitable. Illinois Farm Bureau will continue to work with IDOA and other partners into the future to find workable solutions for crop protection products.”