As harvest nears completion farmers, retail and state Extension agents have gotten a better idea of how many acres of soybeans were allegedly damaged by dicamba. Kevin Bradley, with the University of Missouri, compiled the number of reported complaints and estimated acres from state Extension agents.
The final numbers? Approximately 3.6 soybean million acres of damage and 2,708 dicamba-related injury complaints—both up from an Aug. 10 report of 3.1 million acres and 2,242 complaints.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently imposed new label requirements for Engenia, FeXapan and Xtendimax. Changes seek to reduce risk of injury to sensitive and specialty crops and include information about wind speed, tank clean out and changed the label to restricted use, among other changes. States are reviewing the changes and are considering if additional restrictions will be required. For example, Arkansas is close to passing a rule that would limit dicamba application to before April 15.
Dicamba damage can happen due to a number of factors. Larry Steckel, University of Tennessee Extension weed scientist, breaks it down to “five big issues.” Several of these issues were considered in recent EPA label changes.
- Tank contamination
- Not following the label
- Avoid inversions
- Old formulations
- Volatility in new formations
The product is under a 2-year conditional label provided by EPA. Results from 2017 indicate improvements must be made to avoid the same level of off-target damage and keep the product in farmer hands.