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New dicamba application strategies could be key to preventing accidental damage to soybean crops

Using dicamba as a preplant weed-management tool or abiding by state cutoff dates for postemergence applications may be a way to make dicamba-tolerant soybean systems palatable for 2019.

[C]omplaints about off-target applications on soybeans are down compared with 2017. Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weeds specialist, pointed out that as of July 25 [2017], 1,411 dicamba-related injury investigations were being conducted by the various state agriculture departments. University weed scientists estimated dicamba had injured approximately 2.5 million acres of soybeans.

Still, Bradley asks if the official dicamba-related injury investigations and/or approximately 1.1 million acres of dicamba-injured soybean constitute a problem for U.S. agriculture. He also asks if all this can be explained by some combination of physical drift, sprayer error, failure to follow guidelines, temperature inversions, generic dicamba usage, contaminated herbicides, and improper sprayer clean out, but not volatility.

Related article:  Scientists challenge Center for Biological Diversity report claiming monarch butterflies threatened by dicamba herbicide

The EPA registration for dicamba used in dicamba-tolerant systems expires on November 9 [2018] …. It’s expected EPA will soon announce its intent, as farmers are starting to select seed for 2019 …. state-specific cutoff dates are a better way to lower off-target dicamba movement than federal rules.

One possibility may be to enact dicamba application zones modeled after soybean maturity zones, with corresponding postemergence cutoff dates.  This builds upon applicator training conducted last winter by universities and industry.


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