North Carolina: Another Opportunity for Auxin Training

    Herbicide spraying in soybean field. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    North Carolina required training for the use of registered auxin herbicides (Engenia, Enlist Duo, Enlist One, FeXapan, XtendiMax) in Enlist cotton, XtendFlex cotton, and Xtend soybeans in 2017. Training in 2017 was not a federal requirement; North Carolina took a proactive stance by requiring training via Special Local Need labels for the products mentioned above. Based upon the limited number of off-target complaints reported to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) in 2017, it appears the training was of some benefit.

    As you are aware, some areas of the country had numerous off-target complaints related to the use of dicamba products in 2017. Across the country, there were over 2700 complaints filed with state regulatory groups. In light of that, the EPA made a number of revisions to the labels of Engenia, FeXapan, and Xtendimax in the fall of 2017. One change was classifying these products as Restricted Use.

    That means one must have an applicator’s licenses to purchase the products, and the applicator must either have an applicator’s licenses or work under the direct supervision of someone with a licenses.

    Another change on the Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax labels is the requirement for auxin-specific training prior to the use of these products in 2018. Federal labels for Enlist Duo and Enlist One do not require such training, but North Carolina made training mandatory via Special Local Need labels for the Enlist products. The two Enlist products are still classified as General Use.

    North Carolina regulations require all applicators (meaning the man on the sprayer) to receive specific training prior to using the registered dicamba or 2,4-D products postemergence, in-crop in the 2018 season. All applicators must receive the 2018 training even if they were trained in 2017. The only training that meets the requirement is “Auxin Herbicides – Best Management Practices” approved by NCDACS and delivered by Cooperative Extension. Industry is also offering training, but the industry training does not meet North Carolina’s requirements.

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    The above-mentioned training requirement is only for in-crop use of the registered dicamba and 2,4-D products on Enlist and Xtend cotton and soybeans. Training is not required to use these or other brands of dicamba or 2,4-D in burndown applications or in corn, small grains, pastures, turf, and other registered uses. And, one does not have to be trained to buy Enlist or Xtend seed.

    “Auxin Herbicides – Best Management Practices” was presented at 32 meetings across the state this spring. A certificate of completion was issued to 2,365 individuals. This was a Herculean effort on the part of both Extension and NCDACS. But, in spite of an abundance of opportunities to receive the training, we are getting calls from individuals who now have decided they need the training.

    We encourage everyone who thinks they might apply one of the registered dicamba or 2,4-D products to cotton or soybeans in 2018 to get the training. Hopefully, the training will help us avoid some drift problems and help us keep registration of the dicamba products. Registrations for Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax expire this fall, and the EPA has been very clear that they will not renew the registrations if we have off-target issues at “unacceptable frequencies”.

    We are not sure what EPA means by unacceptable frequencies, but it is obvious we cannot have a repeat of 2017 and expect to have these registrations in the future. And, we remind you that the training is mandatory for anyone using the products in Enlist or Xtend crops. The NCDACS has made it clear that they will show no leniency toward anyone without the required training when they are investigating and prosecuting drift complaints.

    Dr. York has recorded a video of the training, and Carmina Hanson with NCDA&CS has recorded the training in Spanish (remember, the man on the sprayer must be trained). These videos will be available for viewing in county Extension Centers after April 1. If you still need training, contact your Extension agent.

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