With major concerns about the use of dicamba on soybeans, no-tillers need to be aware of any specific herbicide rules and regulations that may be in place in their home states. These requirements are in addition to the federally-approved labels that are in place for 2019 from the Environmental Protection Agency.
In the center of the Corn Belt, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has placed new restrictions on the use of dicamba on soybeans in the 2019 growing season. Dicamba is primarily used on soybeans to control post-emergence broadleaf weeds and the manufacturers of the four dicamba-containing products approved for over-the-top application to dicamba-tolerant soybeans were notified in mid-winter of the additional special local needs labels for 2019.
Illinois ag department staffers say the intent of these additional restrictions is to reduce the potential for volatilization and off-target movement, thereby reducing the potential for possible adverse impacts to dicamba-sensitive crops and areas. While the new restrictions will no doubt cause difficulty for some farmers, Illinois ag groups are encouraging full compliance with the new labels.
The affected formulations of dicamba are Engenia by BASF, XtendiMax with Vapor Grip Technology by Bayer, FeXapan Plus Vapor Grip Technology by DuPont/Corteva and Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology from Syngenta. The additional Illinois restrictions beyond federally-approved labels include:
1. A cutoff date of June 30, 2019, for application to dicamba tolerant soybeans.
2. Prohibiting application when the wind is blowing toward adjacent residential areas.
3. Required consultation with the state’s FieldWatch sensitive crop registry before application, as well as compliance with all associated record-keeping label requirements.
4. Maintaining the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downfield edge of any Illinois Nature Preserves Commission site.
5. A recommendation to apply a dicamba product only when the wind is blowing away from sensitive areas, including bodies of water and non-residential, uncultivated areas that may harbor sensitive plant species.
The decision to pursue these specific special local needs labels in Illinois was made in response to the record number of misuse complaints during the past 2 years.
In 2017, the Illinois ag department received 430 total pesticide misuse complaints, 246 of which were related to the use of dicamba on soybeans. Those numbers in 2018 rose to 546 total complaints, including 330 dicamba-related complaints. From 1989 to 2016 — prior to the introduction of these new dicamba formulations for use on tolerant soybean varieties — total pesticide misuse complaints averaged only 110 per year.
Because of this significant increase in alleged pesticide misuse, the Illinois ag department staff reviewed labels in place in other soybean-production states and worked with several Illinois ag organizations before making the decision to require state-specific labels for Illinois.
“We now have 2 years of data showing how dicamba has the potential to drift off target,” said the state’s ag department acting director, John Sullivan. “It’s obvious measures need to be put in place so farmers can continue to effectively use these products, while also protecting surrounding property and crops.”