LAKE BENTON, Minn. — As chair of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s Dicamba Committee, Bob Worth was very surprised by the news released on June 3.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered an immediate cease and desist order on three dicamba products. They determined that too much damage had occurred from the herbicide.
What wasn’t taken into account by the three-judge panel was that growers only had 16 days left to apply the dicamba by the June 20 deadline in Minnesota, or 45 days from planting, which for some growers was going to mean a deadline of June 15.
Bob started getting a lot of phone calls. He took part in an emergency leadership phone meetings that continued into the June 6-7 weekend. One of these phone calls included Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Peterson.
Growers that called Bob were left without an answer. They were frustrated, extremely upset and didn’t know what to do.
“It’s one of the strangest things (Ninth Circuit Court ordering a dicamba product immediate cease and desist order),” Bob said. “Normally, when they pull a registration like this you get 14 days or 60 days to get the products out of the pipeline.”
Lawyers for the three manufacturers of dicamba products, officials from EPA, USDA, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and other state ag departments, plus the growers were working hard to get the order overturned as quickly as possible.
Finally, on June 8, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said they would continue operating under the existing pesticide program authorities. This meant that Minnesota farmers could use XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, Engenia Herbicide and DuPont FeXapan with VaporGrip Technology while following federal and Minnesota label requirements. Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology was not part of the two-year federal registration and can still be used according to the label. With the June 8 announcement that spraying could resume, growers had to carefully watch weather conditions. The forecast showed that a few days before June 20 would have wind speeds of 3-10 miles per hour between one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset.
At Worth Farms, Bob was always grateful to his wife, Gail, and his son, Jon, for allowing him to work on issues related to farming.
The Worths had their own spraying to accomplish whenever possible.
“We are done spraying corn and are starting to spray some soybeans. We side-dressed some corn and got that done,” he said. “Our corn on corn acres needed a little more nitrogen.”
The Worths applied 47 pounds per acre of dry urea with a stabilizer. Spun on the surface, the product needed rain within 14 days for activation.
Rain was needed, and farmers were looking at the skies for any signs of developing systems. Very hot and windy conditions were quickly drying out soil surfaces.
With crops really growing, roots would need to burrow deeply into the soil for water. Subsoil moisture was still excellent across the region.
“It is the perfect time to have a drought,” Bob said. “Everything germinated. We still have moisture because our tile lines are still running. We’re not out of moisture. Our sump pump is still running in the basement. That’s a good sign for a year like this.”
With temps moving into the 90s, any cold fronts coming through were likely to stir up thunderstorms and the potential for hail. Some hail fell on the Worth’s soybean fields in early June, and the crop adjuster was going to stop out to see if there was significant damage.
“We got a little hail, but I don’t think we’ll have to replant,” Bob said.