In the most recent Farm Journal Pulse, farmers talked about dicamba—if they plan to use it, and how. Results show that 44% of farmers plan to apply dicamba or have it applied on their farms.
Of the 644 responses, 30% said they went through training and plan to apply dicamba themselves, 13% said they’re hiring a custom applicator and 1% (six respondents) said they’ll be applying dicamba without training—illegally.
“Annual dicamba applicator training is mandatory as a part of the Restricted Use Pesticide classification of in-crop dicamba products,” Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture department of DowDuPont, said in a provided statement. Corteva “is providing in-person and online training to satisfy mandatory applicator training requirements.”
For the farmers who said they plan to apply dicamba illegally it could have serious consequences. Illegal application also includes using generics or other dicamba products over-the-top of soybeans and cotton it not labeled for that specific use.
“BASF strongly oppose the illegal use of dicamba and the off-label use of any product. Off-label applications negatively impacts the farming community, including those farmers who apply products legally. It’s critical that growers report instances of off-label applications. We’ll continue to support federal and state agency enforcement of illegal applications and laws that prohibit the use of unregistered dicamba formulations,” BASF said in a written statement to AgWeb.
Training is available in a variety of outlets, with some states allowing applicators to complete online training any time prior to application. Prior to purchasing dicamba products, applicators must first prove they’re certified.
“As we sit here today we’re approaching 30,000 trained applicators who went through training,” said Ryan Rubischko, Bayer North America dicamba portfolio lead. “Last year we just had 25,000 applicators. There is high awareness that training is required.”
Bayer estimates Xtend traits will be on planted on 60 million soybean or cotton acres. This marks the fourth year of the germplasm and third year of legal dicamba application.
About 11% of Pulse respondents said they purchased Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans because of the advanced genetics, defensively or for another reason, with no intent to apply dicamba. For farmers using this approach an early attack against weeds is critical.
“In general, my recommendation for spray season is start clean with an effective burndown with residual and make the post application before weeds exceed four inches in height—about 20 to 30 days after planting,” said Greg Elmore, Bayer crop protection technology and development lead. “Use overlapping residual to maintain weed-free to canopy closure.”