Specialty crop group petitions EPA to set new dicamba tolerance levels

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2012 -- The Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday to establish dicamba residue tolerances for several food crops, claiming tolerances should be established before pending applications are approved for dicamba tolerant crops.  

“SOCC opposes pending regulatory applications by Monsanto and BASF that would allow widespread use of dicamba tolerant crops until effective protections are established for nearby food crops,” said Steve Smith, Chairman of Save Our Crops Coalition.

In response, Industry Affairs Manager at BASF, Daniel Pepitone, said BASF is currently developing a research and field test program to establish residue tolerances for the Engenia(TM) herbicide, a dicamba formula, on a “wide range of sensitive crops.”

“However, tolerances on non-target crops are not a substitute for proper usage and stewardship of this or any crop protection products,” Pepitone said. “This is why BASF and Monsanto have developed best management practices in support of the dicamba tolerant system including prohibiting aerial application on dicamba tolerant crops and specific nozzle and boom height recommendations.”

He said BASF would introduce Engenia with several stewardship initiatives, including nozzle programs, online and in-field training, and an online proximity mapping tools indicating buffer distances to non-target areas.

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However, Smith said the SOCC is asking EPA to determine whether there are safe levels of dicamba residue, stating that “dicamba is one of America's most dangerous pesticides for damage to neighboring crops.”

“Without an established safe tolerance by the EPA, dicamba simply should not be approved for widespread use over our major agricultural production areas,” he said. 

The SOCC petition calls for EPA to establish dicamba tolerances for the following crops, which the group says are susceptible to dicamba exposure because they will be grown in proximity to dicamba tolerant crops: 

·                Grape (Vitis spp.)

·                Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

·                Groundcherry (Physalis spp.)

·                Pepino (Solanum muricatum)

·                Pepper (Capsicum spp.) (includes bell pepper, chili pepper, cooking pepper, pimento, sweet pepper)

·                Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa)

·                Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)

·                Chayote (fruit) (Sechium edule)

·                Chinese waxgourd (Chinese preserving melon) (Benincasa hispida)

·                Citron melon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides)

·                Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

·                Gherkin (Cucumis anguria)

·                Gourd, edible (Lagenaria spp.) (includes hyotan, cucuzza); (Luffa acutangula, L. cylindrica) (includes hechima, Chinese okra)

·                Momordica spp. (includes balsam apple, balsam pear, bitter melon, Chinese cucumber)

·                Muskmelon (hybrids and/or cultivars of Cucumis melo) (includes true cantaloupe, cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw melon, goldenpershaw melon, honeydew melon, honey balls, mango melon, Persian melon, pineapple melon, Santa Claus melon, and snake melon)

·                Pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.)

·                Squash, summer (Cucurbita pepo var. melopepo) (includes crookneck squash, scallop squash, straightneck squash, vegetable marrow, zucchini)

·                Squash, winter (Cucurbita maxima; C. moschata) (includes butternut squash, calabaza, hubbard squash); (C. mixta; C. pepo) (includes acorn squash, spaghetti squash)

·                Watermelon (includes hybrids and/or varieties of Citrullus lanatus) 


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