A U.S. appeals court this week vacated the registration of three dicamba herbicides, including Bayer’s XtendiMax.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated in the ruling, “the absence of substantial evidence to support the EPA’s decision compels us to vacate the registrations.” The ruling comes after a group of environmental organizations filed a petition challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 registration decision.
Chris Turner, U.S. Country Division Head for Bayer says the company strongly disagrees with the ruling and is working to minimize impacts on its customers.
“We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options. If the ruling stands, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season. Our top priority is making sure our customers have the support they need to have a successful season.”
Turner says the EPA conducted an extensive review and considered all relevant science prior to issuing the current registration for XtendiMax.
“In October 2018, the EPA extended the registration of XtendiMax and stated that ‘This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, growers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders. EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s growers.’ The EPA’s informed science-based decision reaffirms that this tool is vital for growers and does not pose any unreasonable risks of off-target movement when used according to label directions.”
Turner says Bayer will continue to work with others so farmers can maintain access to XtendiMax.
“Bayer stands fully behind our XtendiMax product. We are proud of our role in bringing innovations like XtendiMax forward to help growers safely, successfully, and sustainably protect their crops from weeds. We will continue working with the EPA, growers, academics, and others to maintain long-term access to this important tool.”
The ruling pertains specifically to the EPA’s 2018 registration decision, which expires in December 2020. Bayer is currently working to obtain a new EPA registration for XtendiMax for the 2021 season and beyond and hopes to obtain the new registration by this fall. The ruling also includes dicamba herbicides from BASF and Corteva.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a statement supporting the EPA process.
“Producers need all the tools in their toolbox to produce the world’s food, fuel, and fiber, and USDA re-affirms its support for EPA’s science-based process for assessing and managing ecological risks, balanced against the agricultural and societal benefits of crop protection tools,” he said. “USDA stands ready to assist its federal partners in meeting that goal. Farmers across America have spent hard earned money on previously allowed crop protection tools. I encourage the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products, which are a critical tool for American farmers to combat weeds resistant to many other herbicides, in fields that are already planted. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit has chosen to eliminate one of those tools.”
Sources: USDA, Bayer, and NAFB News Service