Last week I commented on some of the proposed changes in Arkansas’ 2,4-D regulations. This week I will comment on some of the proposed changes in the state’s glyphosate regulations. These will affect a lot more people than the 2,4-D regulations. The Pesticide Committee of the Arkansas State Plant Board has approved the changes and they will be presented to the full board. Different pesticides registered in Arkansas fall into different Classes or categories at the Plant Board. Glyphosate had previously been in Class A, which had the fewest number of restrictions and requirements. A new Class G has been created for glyphosate.

All of the restrictions in Classes A through D and some additional restrictions will now apply to glyphosate. It should be noted that restrictions for Class G only apply to products packaged in containers of 1 gallon or larger and labeled for agricultural use.

In essence, the new regulations will make glyphosate purchased for agricultural use a state restricted use pesticide.

I will not go into some of the intricate details of the proposed changes. A copy of the proposal may be obtained from the Arkansas State Plant Board. I will, however, comment on some general changes.

First, a Class G product may not be applied in winds greater than 10 mph. If a product label happens to have a wind speed restriction lower than 10 mph, then that wind speed limit must be used.

Applications must also be done in accordance with Plant Board regulations on inversion avoidance.

Civil penalties assessed for violations of the product label, applicable state or federal law or these proposed regulations will be increased by $1,000 up to a $2,000 maximum.

One of the big changes in the proposed regulations is private applicators who purchase or apply Class G products will fall under the same guidelines as commercial applicators.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2008, commercial, non-commercial and private applicators will have to attend a Class G drift mitigation class and pass an examination to purchase or apply the product.

Also beginning Jan. 1, 2008, all equipment with an effective swath width of 20 feet or more used to apply Class G products must be registered with the Plant Board every two years and meet certain set-up and operational requirements.

Full details may be obtained from the Plant Board.

Better record-keeping will be required for each application by commercial, non-commercial and private applicators. Wind speed and direction must be recorded at the beginning and end of each application with a device capable of accuracy of less than or equal to 1 mph.

Complete brand name and EPA registration number of the material used will be required. This will help answer some of the formulation questions a lot of folks have.

Some may look at the proposed changes and say, “Wow!” However, the increasing drift problems with glyphosate-containing products have made changes necessary. The changes are going to require a huge educational effort on the part of the Cooperative Extension Service to get all of the required training done by January 2008.

In addition, the Plant Board is committed to adding personnel to have more of an enforcement presence in the field. All of this takes money and the plan is to pay for it by increasing the product registration fees in Arkansas to $300 per product.

One issue not specifically addressed in the proposed changes is product formulation. Many, including me, believe the industry has not done all it can to provide formulations with the best drift control potential.

There was a lot of discussion at the recent Pesticide Committee meeting to require glyphosate products registered in Arkansas at some point in the future to pass certain spray droplet requirements similar to those required in the Command aerial regulations. I believe these are needed to answer the formulation questions.

e-mail: ford@weedconsultants.com