The Environmental Protection Agency has eased restrictions on dicamba herbicide use by Texas cotton farmers, according to an announcement by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.
This is a direct result of a cooperative push by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension services, and Texas cotton farmers. The current EPA label for dicamba is deemed too restrictive for the unique farming environment found in Texas.
“I’ve always said Texas is like no place else,” Miller said in a news release. “And this move by EPA supports that, especially for growing cotton. Texas cotton farmers face environmental challenges not found elsewhere, so changing the restrictions on dicamba will maximize the benefits this product has to offer for protecting Texas cotton crops and decrease the chances of dicamba applications drifting into neighboring fields.”
The changes to the dicamba restrictions apply primarily to time of day when the product can be applied and length of application time period from cotton planting dates.
In Texas, spray drift of pesticide has been a noted concern. The lessening of these restrictions greatly decreases the use of herbicides, decreases the risk of off premises chemical wind drift and will help Texas farmers protect millions of acres of cotton crops.
Texas cotton farmers deal with greater risk of herbicide spray drift because of strong winds common on the high plains. Other challenges include periodic drought and rains that can promote untimely weed growth, delayed planting and extended growing seasons.
“This change by EPA is a great example of the strong partnership between local farmers, and state and federal agencies that make the Texas ag industry successful and competitive worldwide,” Miller said. “I appreciate the EPA’s willingness to grant Texas cotton producers the flexibility they need to protect their crop.”