Developers of soybeans resistant to dicamba that can knock out some glyphosate-resistant weeds think farmers using the technology could double acres in 2018. But, that was before the federal government recently tightened restrictions. Some items you may want to keep in mind as you make seed selection decisions for next year.

Many Illinois farmers who grew dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2017 say they had the cleanest fields and best yields. Still, others who grew soybean varieties tolerant to competing herbicides such as glufosinate report good experiences, too – that is, unless they and some who grew non-GMO or organic varieties happened to experience off-target movement of the crop-protection product used it with dicamba-resistant varieties.

“Anytime it moves off target, that’s a label violation,” says Tamara Nelsen, senior director of commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB). “So, we want to make sure we’re doing it right.”

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a little over a week ago six new requirements for Illinois and other farmers around the country to follow in 2018 if they plan to use dicamba-resistant soybeans.

Nelsen and GROWMARK’s crop-protection expert believe careful stewardship of the technology must remain a priority in 2018.

“The question is how we can help train and educate all of the stakeholders involved in this technology to do it right in 2018,” says Jeff Bunting, Ph.D., manager of GROWMARK’s crop protection division.

Bunting and Nelsen, who participated in a recent edition of the “RFD Today” program on the RFD Radio Network, believe the next six months will be important to help ensure those farmers who choose to use the dicamba-resistant varieties meet the new EPA restrictions.

“This isn’t going to be the last new technology, there are going to be many more after it,” says Nelsen. “We need to show people we can manage these technologies, and we can do it right.”

Bunting believes most problems with dicamba-resistant soybeans this year centered around three areas:

1. Managing buffer zones correctly

2. Knowing correct wind speed and direction and following label guidelines

3. Recognizing the impact of temperature inversions

Inversions can occur when cool air, which is heavy, settles near the ground and warm air, which is light, rises upward, such as fog developing in farm fields at sunrise.

“There are tools today that look at forecasting inversions 48 to 72 hours out that give you an indication of when an inversion might happen,” said Bunting.

2018 will be a pivotal year for dicamba-resistant seed and its accompanying crop-protection product since EPA granted initial use of the technology for only two years.

Source: Illinois Farm Bureau

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