Those of us who thought last year’s problems with dicamba drift and damage were solved have been proven to be badly mistaken.
As more and more cases are reported, it is obvious steps taken so far to correct the problem have not been enough. This is a complicated issue.
Farmers want and need new technology in their battle with weeds but not at the expense of someone else’s crop. Weather conditions, application timing and sprayer maintenance are all key factors.
No matter what is put on a label, proper stewardship is required by users of the product. At first that management or lack thereof seemed to be the source of the problem and in some cases may still be.
However, the reports of damage are now so numerous and over such a large area that it seems unlikely it can all be due to operator error. Reports of applicators following the label instructions precisely only to still have damage reported are especially troubling.
More research is needed to know if the problem is with the product or the application or both. The answer will be found in labs, fields and probably courtrooms and unfortunately that answer won’t come in time to repair the damage this year.
Hopefully it will come in time to prevent similar problems in the future. However costly this year’s damage will be it will pale in comparison to the potential cost and damage to agriculture in the future if these new technologies are lost and that battle is also being fought in the court of public opinion.