The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Drift Task Force recently sent a list of dicamba recommendations to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
The task force, comprised of soybean farmers, recommends that MDA:
• Adapt a new EPA label for Minnesota.
• Determine a cutoff date for application with collaboration from industry, the University of Minnesota and MDA, and implement the cutoff date immediately.
• Adapt a temperature cutoff, such as “Do not apply if predicted or actual temperature high is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or above.”
• Initiate educational opportunities for proper use and resistance management of these products immediately. That includes educating growers to use this product as part of a total weed management program that includes a full-rate preemergent herbicide package.
The task force’s recommendations follow EPA’s directive to manufacturers to revise dicamba labels to address physical and particle drift of the product. Those label changes should reduce off-target movement and help solve particle drift and sprayer cleanout issues. However, MSGA doesn’t think those EPA label requirements go far enough to protect Minnesota soybean fields from vapor drift.
“Vapor drift is concerning because once dicamba vaporizes, we can’t predict where it’ll go,” says Bob Worth, task force chairman. “Our recommendation to the department of ag addresses vapor drift.”
After reviewing data and research reports, the task force concluded that more time should have been spent on how to properly use dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.
“The companies should have launched the products in smaller regional units, learned lessons about the product, educated the system and then moved to nationwide distribution,” the task force letter to MDA says.
MDA officials have been reviewing information from the department’s dicamba damage survey and data submitted by product manufacturers. MDA’s dicamba product registrations expire Dec. 31.
“I appreciate the efforts of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and its drift task force,” says Dave Frederickson, MDA commissioner. “The recommendations provided to the department, along with information gathered through our survey and investigations, will help guide my decision on registration of this product. I will announce that decision within the month of December.”
MDA could issue stricter rules than what EPA did.
MSGA formed the task force last fall in response to widespread reports of dicamba drift damage to soybean fields planted with varieties not genetically engineered to resist the herbicide. As of mid-September, 249 complaints were filed in Minnesota alleging dicamba drift damage.
The task force is comprised of MSGA and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council directors. Representatives from University of Minnesota Extension, MDA, agricultural chemical companies, Minnesota pesticide applicators, ag retailers and other concerned parties have worked with the task force as consultants.
North Dakota’s dicamba restrictions
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture recently announced restrictions on dicamba use on tolerant soybeans for 2018.
They include: no dicamba application after June 30 or after the first bloom (R1 growth phase), whichever comes first. No application made when field air temperature at the time of application is more than 85 degrees F, or if the forecast National Weather Service high temperature for the day exceeds 85 degrees F.
Dicamba applications only can be made from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset. And applicators must notify the ag department before applying dicamba.
• Application wind speed must be 12 miles per hour or less.
• No applications can be made using 80-degree or less spray nozzles.
• Applications must be made with a minimum of 15 gallons of spray solution per acre.
An applicator working under the supervision of a certified private applicator will be required to complete the dicamba-specific training course before applying the product.
The new protocols will only affect applications made on soybeans for XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan. The restrictions will not affect generic dicamba.
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture contributed to this story.