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Moving Forward From Dicamba in 2017

February 19, 2018

Year of Disagreement and Hostility
Last year was a year full of disagreement and hostility between many, involving the use of dicamba POST across thousands of acres in the United States and South Dakota. These disagreements across the United States and South Dakota were between farmers, farmers and Companies, farmers and University Weed Scientist, Companies and University Weed Scientist, Companies and Regulatory Agencies and the Non-Ag public against farmers and companies.

What happened here?
The South Dakota Department of Ag had 117 cases related to a dicamba of the 170 total investigations. The counties with the most cases related to dicamba in 2017 where Brown, McCook, Minnehaha and Spink with 10 or more cases recorded. Beadle, Brookings, Davison, Turner, Clark, Codington, Lincoln and Ham all had case numbers ranging from 6 to 9 in 2017. Another 22 counties East and West River had 6 or less cases recorded. To put this in perspective in 2015 & 2016, the department of Ag had only 82 investigations dealing with pesticides. In 2017 they saw a 107% increase in pesticide related investigations, which the majority where dicamba related.

How did this happen?
When we ask “how did this happen?” there are multiple questions that follow. What was the cause of this crop damage? Why hasn’t this been a major issue in the past? Did these certified applicators all of a sudden stop spraying according to the label? Is this a chemical problem or an applicator problem? Or both?

Education seems to be the answer many think will solve the problem for the 2018 growing season. Education may help with physical drift, but possibly no other type of drift. A University Weed Scientist said “It is naive to think training will solve all the dicamba issues seen in the 2017 growing season”. There is a number of possible sources to why these products damaged non-tolerant plants. These sources may have been: Physical drift, Tank contamination through inadequate tank cleaning, contaminated pumps, contaminated bulk tanks, Inversions and volatility.

In subsequent articles we will look at a University perspective of the possibility of the volatility of these newer formulation of dicamba, a University Weed Scientists perspective on how to be successful with dicamba in 2018 and how to possibly fail with dicamba in 2018.

Source: Gared Shaffer, iGrow