The Environmental Protection Agency is working to complete registration decisions on dicamba by the middle of next month, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says.

“We are currently reviewing the registration by two of the companies that produce dicamba,” Wheeler told Red River Farm Network reporter Carah Hart on Monday, referring to Bayer, which makes Xtendimax, and BASF, which produces Engenia. “We hope to have a decision … by middle of October.”

Corteva’s FeXapan is the same formulation as Xtendimax, making its registration dependent on the outcome of the Xtendimax decision, Corteva has told DTN.

The farm community has been clamoring for a decision as soon as possible in order to make purchasing decisions for next season.

“I believe [a mid-October decision] would give growers ample time to make decisions regarding both chemical and seed purchases,” said Leo Reed, certification and licensing manager at the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and president of the Association of American Pesticide Officials.

In the interview, Wheeler would not speculate on what those final decisions might be. A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in June vacated registrations for the three aforementioned herbicides, but left Syngenta’s Tavium registration untouched since it was not part of the lawsuit. That registration expires in December.

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“One of the criticisms of the 9th Circuit was that there were too many restrictions on the label, it was too hard to follow,” Wheeler said. “So we’re taking a hard look at the old label and we’re looking at the updated science we’ve gotten from the companies.”

“We want to make sure that we can make a decision on whether or not to go forward with dicamba and if we do, what the label looks like, so that provides certainty for all the farmers once and for all who either want to use dicamba or want to be told that they can’t use dicamba, either way,” Wheeler said.

“I can’t prejudge the outcome yet because my career scientists haven’t brought me their final recommendations, but my commitment is to try to get that decision as quickly as possible so that we provide certainty for next year’s growing season,” Wheeler said. "I really don’t want to send the wrong signals as to what we may be looking at because I’m waiting for their final recommendations.”

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