STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has issued a Section 24c label for the aerial application of the herbicide clomazone to control annual grasses in rice. The special registration (label) is in effect until Dec. 31, 2004.

Clomazone is sold under the trade names Command 3ME and Commit 3ME. Command 3ME is manufactured by FMC; Commit 3ME is manufactured by Agriliance.

The department has authority from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Section 24c of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to register a pesticide for use only in Mississippi. A 24c registration is approved by EPA and issued by a state when a special local need, as defined under the guidelines and regulations of EPA, can be determined. The department's Bureau of Plant Industry is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Section 24c registrations for pesticides.

"Aerial application of this herbicide will allow our rice producers more flexibility in early control of annual grasses," said Mike Tagert, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry. "It is crucial that our producers achieve good pre-emergence control of troublesome grasses and weeds early in the game."

A special local need is justified when (1) an EPA-registered product is not available or registered for a particular application or, (2) an EPA-registered product or application is not as safe, practical and useful as an unregistered product or application would be.

Mississippi producers annually plant from 215,000 acres to 300,000 acres of rice, depending upon the strength of market prices. In 2003, the state rice farmers set a new yield-record in averaging more than 6,800 pounds of rice per acre. USDA predicts that farmers in Mississippi will plant about 245,000 acres of rice in 2004.

Rice farmers in Mississippi have used clomazone by ground application to control annual grasses, such as barnyardgrass, broadleaf signalgrass, crabgrass, fall panicum and sprangletop. EPA approved a trial aerial application of clomazone on test sites in Mississippi in 2003.

The application window for clomazone is typically from up to two weeks before planting rice to one week after planting but before annual grasses and other weeds emerge.

Counties in Mississippi with significant acreage in rice are: Bolivar, Coahoma, Carroll, DeSoto, Grenada, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Washington and Yazoo.

Arkansas and Missouri each have issued a 24c label for aerial application of clomazone on rice.

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