Farmers across the Midwest and Mid-South are preparing for yet another challenging season fighting weeds. Those applying dicamba might need to watch for more inspections, limited opportunities for use and more training requirements.
In Missouri, farmers have experienced more scrutiny when they pull out the sprayer. Investigators are stopping at farms to ask applicators what they’re spraying and observe applications. Other investigations include:
- Check pesticide use and follow-up
- Establish who is the applicator
- View records of use and sales
- Direct supervision of technicians (watch application)
Inspectors can search applicator equipment every year, so this isn’t entirely new, but strict dicamba regulation adds a level of uncertainty. Farmers in Missouri recently took to social media to share their experiences with inspectors. In sum, following the label and maintaining proof of purchases and records of applications will help provide a smoother inspection experience.
While Missouri and other states increase dicamba scrutiny, an Arkansas judge recently ruled that 85 farmers will be allowed to use the herbicide which was previously banned in the state. The original in-season ban started April 15 and will run through Oct. 31.
According to Arkansas Online, attorney David Burnett filed a motion for 85 eastern Arkansas farmers in Mississippi County for a temporary restraining order ex parte (without notifying the attorney general’s office, which represents the State Plant Board). Most farmers represented are from Mississippi, Poinsett and Cridden counties—which received more than half of Arkansas' nearly 1,000 dicamba related complaints in 2017.
Judge Tonya Alexander said farmers “face the immediate, irreparable harm to their crops” without the restraining order, Arkansas Online reports. She says harm caused by not being able to kill weeds outweighs injury to the state.
Note, while farmers in Arkansas can spray dicamba right now it might not last long, according to Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge. The Attorney General is working to prevent growers from using dicamba while current appeals continue.
It's also important to know that even though some Arkansas farmers can use dicamba, XtendiMax still cannot be used in the state. Monsanto doesn't anticipate farmers gaining access to XtendiMax until next year.