By Pamela Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor
DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Get ready to go back to chemistry class.
The federal label requires special training if you intend to use Engenia, XtendiMax, FeXapan or Tavium dicamba formulations in 2020. And, for the first time, applicators using paraquat must complete training specific to that herbicide.
For dicamba, it doesn't matter if you've taken the class before -- it is an annual obligation if you intend to use the formulations approved for use in the Xtend Crop System.
Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president, said there were cases where applicators were asked to produce evidence a class was completed in 2019 -- only to find they'd taken it the year prior.
"We can't stress this enough -- the class must be taken every year and everyone who intends to apply any of these four dicamba products must take the class," said Payne. It's also a federal requirement that only certified applicators apply and handle these dicamba products. Employees or family members working under the supervision of a certified applicator -- whether retail or private -- is no longer sufficient.
Both classroom and online classes may be available for certification, but availability can vary by state. To find where to obtain dicamba training or the oversight agency in your state, go to: http://npic.orst.edu/….
In attempts to reduce crop and landscape damage from off-target movement of dicamba, several states have also announced a narrowed application window for spraying these four dicamba formulations. Recently, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota set a June 20 cutoff date for 2020, and other states could make similar moves.
In announcing a calendar restriction, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen noted the importance of dicamba as a tool for combating herbicide-resistant weeds, but also stressed the importance of protecting neighboring homes, farms and gardens.
"We have seen continued improvement of the use of these products because of the June 20 cutoff date, and that's why we are moving forward with this again in 2020," Petersen said in a news release. Find the entire statement here: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/….
These state restrictions stack on top of a lengthy list of federal application requirements for the dicamba products aimed at reducing off-target movement. Find federal dicamba details here: https://www.epa.gov/….
PLAN TO USE PARAQUAT IN 2020?
It is now an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that, in addition to certified applicator status, you must also complete a special paraquat safety class.
"Use" includes pre-application activities of mixing and loading the pesticide, applying the pesticide, and other pesticide-related activities. It also includes transporting or storing opened pesticide containers, cleaning equipment, and disposing of excess pesticides, spray mix, equipment wash waters, pesticide containers and other paraquat-containing materials.
The EPA is requiring additional safety steps due to deaths caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat and injuries caused by the pesticide getting onto the skin or into worker eyes. According to EPA documents, one of the main purposes of the paraquat training is to reinforce that paraquat must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers.
The paraquat training must be retaken every three years and is available online. This training was developed by paraquat manufacturers as part of EPA's 2016 risk mitigation requirements. The EPA-approved online module is available here: https://campus.extension.org/….
For more details on the decision to require special paraquat dichloride training go to: https://www.epa.gov/….
For more information on Illinois' dicamba June 20 cutoff decision go to:
For details on Indiana's new June 20 cutoff go to: https://www.oisc.purdue.edu/….
Find information and updates specific to Arkansas dicamba rules here: https://www.aad.arkansas.gov/….
Pamela Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN
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