Well, I believe Old Man Winter has decided enough is enough and winter is going to settle in. I’m OK with that as long as our weather does not yo-yo up and down and during the holidays we don’t get much of that white stuff.
Yea, yea, yea, I know many of you want a white Christmas, but I have to travel and clear roads are part of my Christmas wish.
As harvest winds down for area farmers, many will still be busy with end of year chores, marketing, taxes, and learning. Beginning next week I will be highlighting some really important meetings that will be held here locally covering such things as Crop Production and Management, Estate Planning, to Pesticide and Fertilizer recertification.
In the meantime, a topic we have been hearing a lot about is what is going to happen with dicamba usage going forward into 2018.
Mark Loux, Weed specialist for the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, reported this week in our CORN Agronomic Crops Network newsletter some important discussion farmers need to start paying attention to as we go forward with the use of dicamba products. His comments are as follows:
Following a summer of many instances of off-target movement of dicamba across the country from use in Xtend soybeans, the labels for Engenia, XtendiMax, and FeXapan were modified in an attempt to reduce future problems.
These products became restricted use pesticides, and an additional requirement is that anyone applying these products must attend annual dicamba or group 4 herbicide-specific training, and have proof that they did so. Details are still being worked out on this training for Ohio, but it will not be conducted by OSU Extension, or accomplished through OSU winter agronomy or pesticide recertification meetings.
At this point, as far as we know it appears that it will be conducted by Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont at meetings held specifically by them for this purpose, and also possibly through an online training module. Final details and meeting schedules are not likely to be in place until after the first of the year.
We will pass on information as we get it from ODA and companies, and applicators will undoubtedly receive this information from multiple other sources as well.
OSU, Purdue and the University of Illinois have put together a fact sheet on stewardship of dicamba, which is available at our website – u.osu.edu/osuweeds. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of application requirements from labels, but it also contains some suggestions on stewardship that are not part of labels.
Unlike the three companies selling these products, whose position is that applicator error was responsible for most off-target problems in 2017, university weed scientists concluded that volatilization of dicamba caused many of them. And we are not convinced that the label changes adequately address the potential for volatilization to occur, or provide conservative enough guidelines to help applicators assess how and where (and more important – where not) to apply dicamba in Xtend soybeans. OSU’s position on the use of dicamba in Xtend soybeans has not changed over the past year.
We feel that off-target problems could be greatly minimized by restricting dicamba use to early-season, as a component of no-till burndown treatments. Dicamba has utility for control of marestail in the burndown, and there is just less emerged vegetation to damage earlier in the season should off-target movement occur. This is not to say there is no risk of movement or damage when used early-season.
Just because risk to non-Xtend soybeans or other crops is low because they have not emerged yet, does not mean there is not risk to nearby fruit trees, vegetables, ornamentals, etc. However, postemergence use of dicamba accounted for most of the off-target problems in 2017, and we would expect a similar trend in 2018.
In the meantime, stay in communications with your herbicide suppliers to find out when such trainings will occur in our immediate area and be sure to take the time to attend if you truly plan on utilizing dicamba products in 2018.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 29 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.