Randy Uhrmacher is tired of fighting Palmer amaranth. Its increase in his southern Nebraska fields is why he has decided to plant 100% dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2018.
“We had some Palmer escapes last year; this year we aren’t taking any chances,” says Uhrmacher, who farms near Hastings.
Most farmers have decided their soybean planting intentions for this year, according to a Farm Journal Pulse survey. Forty percent (411) of the 1,036 farmers who responded said they plan to grow dicamba-tolerant soybeans. Forty-nine percent (508) of farmers said they won’t grow them, and 11% (117) are still undecided.
“There is definitely a fear of drift and associated implications, so that would be a reason for not using the technology fully this year,” says Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Extension weed scientist.
“Our agrochemical dealers in Pennsylvania are not doing much of the dicamba spraying,” he notes. “Farmers are spraying their own.”
Lingenfelter says farmers using the technology in his area have various reasons. “Some want it for burndown of marestail, but others will spray post to control marestail, Palmer and other perennial weeds. Some have told me they are planting them for the elite genetics but are not sure if they will spray dicamba yet.”
In preparation for planting, Uhrmacher has been reaching out to his neighbors to let them know his plans.
“One was going to plant 80 acres to non-dicamba beans, and he said, ‘Well, maybe I should change it so we don’t have any issues,’ ” Uhrmacher notes. “The other neighbor I contacted is going to have one field of non-dicamba soybeans, but everything else next to us [of his] is all dicamba. I have a couple of other farmers to talk to and make sure we’re OK on bordering fields,” he adds.
Bob Birdsell grows non-GMO, food-grade soybeans and says there is little dicamba use in his area in northwest Missouri.
“Farmers here are using LibertyLink and have had good success and really haven’t gone to dicamba,” says Birdsell, who farms near Stanberry.
Even so, he says there have been issues at times. “We’ve had [a few] problems with Roundup and Liberty on windy days,” he says. “Damage wasn’t bad, but you could tell there was a little drift.”
Monsanto reports the company and its licensing partners expect to have enough Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans for up to half of 2018 U.S. soybean acres. That could double the number of dicamba-tolerant acres, which was 20 million in 2017.