Since the new labels for the new dicamba formulations were announced by the EPA in October, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association has organized more than 30 training sessions before the 2018 spray season. So far, more than 300 farmers and applicators have attended one of these trainings, which are also being organized by the Illinois Department of Ag and other ag groups.
John Deere dealer Martin Sullivan is offering dicamba application training at three locations in late January. IFCA also encourages ag retailers to consider hosting training classes for employees and/or customers.
For 2018, EPA made Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan Restricted Use Pesticides, which means that only certified applicators can purchase these products and a record of sale must be kept by pesticide dealers who sell the products.
The recent ARA Conference and Expo dedicated two sessions to discussing dicamba application, what was learned in 2017 and how to move ahead in 2018.
Also last week, MFA Incorporated (a retail coop with statewide coverage in Missouri) announced “strict internal policies for sale, use of dicamba.”
Missouri has mandated a cutoff date of June 1 for 10 counties in the Bootheel and July 15 statewide.
According to Dr. Jason Weirich, MFA Incorporated director of agronomy, the new policy will be responsive to actual growing conditions, which could be more restrictive than guidelines announced by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in November. MFA’s policies are based on plant maturity rather than calendar dates.
Additionally, MFA will launch an scouting protocol this spring to track soybean growth and provide timely information to applicators. A network of “sentinel plots” will be established, representing the average planting dates and maturity ranges of soybeans in different regions of MFA’s service territory. These plots will be scouted every Monday and reports sent to all MFA employees on Tuesday mornings with notes about maturity and potential cutoff dates for spraying dicamba.
Applicators will be alerted when the majority of soybeans in their area have reached the reproductive stage, when dicamba injury can do the most harm to non-target plants.