Survey Leads IFCA To Make 4 Recommendations On Dicamba to EPA

Retailers estimated their territory had 64% of soybean acres planted with the Xtend trait ( AgWeb )

For the second year, The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) surveyed its members who are professional applicators on their experience with applying the newest dicamba formulations to soybeans. There are 113 responses to this year’s survey, which gave the following details about 2018 applications by IFCA members:

  • 90% applied dicamba in post-emergence applications
  • 55% applied dicamba pre/burndown
  • In post applications, approximately 60% sprayed Engenia, and 40% sprayed XtendiMax.
  • Nearly 70% applied post applications occurred the week of June 4
  • Nearly 55% applied post applications were completed the week of June 11
  • And less than 20% respondents sprayed dicamba in the month of July

“70% of dicamba applications in Illinois are done by a professional applicator,” explains Jean Payne, president of IFCA. View the full 2018 survey here.

So far in 2018, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 319 misuse complaints attributed to dicamba symptoms (the total number of pesticide misuse complaints so far in 2018 totals 500, which is a historic high.)

“Last year the applicators attributed the problems of off target to a myriad of issues---wind, contamination, volatility----but this year, volatility rose up in the listing. And they felt that they don’t have anything else to attribute it to,” Payne says.

Per the label requirement, more than 11,000 people attended dicamba specific training in Illinois.

Regarding damage complaints attributed to dicamba, the IFCA survey reports:

  • 60% of retailers report less than 40% of their non-Dicamba soybean acres showed dicamba damage
  • Approximately 15% said 80 to 100% showed damage
  • “Do not apply when sensitive crops are downwind” was ranked as the most difficult aspect of the label for applicators
  • About 85% of retailers believe that people are using labeled dicamba products on soybeans
  • Retailers estimated their territory had 64% of soybean acres planted with the Xtend trait

“This year the applicators emphasized again that off target movement exists under optimum conditions with extremely careful application and impacts sensitive soybeans,” Payne says.

The above findings, along with multiple visits and interviews with industry stakeholders during the year, has been the foundation for IFCA’s recent recommendations given to EPA. In light of the pending EPA decision on the new dicamba formulations and their labels past 2018, here are IFCA’s four recommendations:

1. Growers should provide to the applicator the type of soybean trait planted on all sides of any Xtend field that is intended to be treated with dicamba, in a form signed by the grower and provided to the applicator, ahead of any commercial application.

2. "Do not apply if sensitive crops are adjacent to the field of application in any direction."

3. Do not apply beyond the V6 growth stage.

4. Do not apply after June 30 of each calendar year.

Read more about IFCA’s recommendations here, and you can read the full letter sent to the EPA here.

“Although differences of opinion exist, the IFCA leadership believes that measures can be taken to enable the use of the technology while also outlining reasonable steps to address the tendency of dicamba to impact nearby crops and other areas when applied post-emergence on soybeans, even by the most experienced and well-trained applicators,” Payne says.

She says the above recommendations help address the lack of clarity in the 2018 labels. And the focus of IFCA is to help retailers and applicators be good stewards of the technology they have access to.

“The clock is ticking. We are waiting for the EPA to make their announcement regarding 2019 labels either this month or in September,” Payne says.

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