Back to School on Dicamba

Spray Application Training Required

There's a long list of requirements for spray applicators intending to use certain dicamba formulations for the coming season. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (DTN) -- Jared Roskamp delivered a terse message to applicators interested in spraying dicamba herbicides in 2018: "Do not use dicamba if you are unwilling or unable to follow requirements."

Roskamp was talking to the 131 attendees of Illinois' first training session on how to use Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan, the only dicamba herbicides legal to use in dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

During the session, Roskamp pulled no punches about the need to consider surrounding sensitive crops and the need to know what is growing nearby. "There are some fields in 2018 that should not be sprayed with dicamba," he stated.

The Nov. 27 event was the first of many dicamba programs that will be held in coming months as states scurry to meet additional mandatory training requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

New labels issued in October require that only certified applicators can purchase the three dicamba formulations. The labels also require that all applicators (private and commercial) be trained on the proper use of these dicamba products.

That means any applicator working under the supervision of a certified private (farmer) applicator is also required to complete a dicamba-specific training course before they can apply the product, confirmed Kevin Johnson, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) director of government and industry relations.

What that class looks like, what is taught and who teaches it may vary from state to state. Roskamp, a BASF technical representative, led Illinois' first effort, which was organized by IFCA. In Missouri, applicators must show proof they've attended a University of Missouri-led training session to gain certification necessary to both buy and apply the herbicides.

That poses interesting questions for applicators crossing state borders. Johnson told DTN the question of whether those farmers and retail applicators operating in multiple states will have to attend training in each state is still being worked out.

Applicators are still required to meet training requirements even if the state does not offer or require dicamba or auxin-specific programs. Registrants of the dicamba products are expected to offer approved classes in those cases.


Some states are also pursuing Special Local Needs (Section 24c) labels that can exceed federal labels. Special spray cutoff dates or specific temperatures or times of day when spraying would cease are among the parameters being set or considered in states such as Minnesota and North Dakota.

In Missouri, spray cutoff dates will vary depending on county location and require the state be notified prior to applications. In Indiana, all agricultural dicamba products will be considered Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP). Arkansas has sent a proposal to its legislature that would ban spraying dicamba applications in soybeans and cotton between April 16 and Oct. 31, although it is being legally contested.

Compared to last year, the new federal label standardizes some requirements among the three products. For example, all the new labels now give a 3- to 10-mile-per-hour wind speed window. Even then, it's a no-spray situation if the wind is blowing toward a sensitive crop, including non-tolerant soybeans. The label does not state how close or how far that sensitive crop can be -- a fact that has brought up questions as to how to implement.

Roskamp also noted that the labels also apply if Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax are being used in corn or any other approved area.

During the two-hour training, Roskamp emphasized the need to use preemergence herbicides and program approach to weed control to limit the herbicide resistance treadmill. Postemergence application timing of dicamba is best suited to the soybean's early vegetative stages, he said.

The training session included details on how to measure wind speed, what nozzles to use, approved tank mix partners, buffer strips, sprayer hygiene and upstream contamination concerns.

Recordkeeping will play a large role in the upcoming season and require both application and tank cleanout details. Roskamp said applicators must generate forms on each field sprayed within 14 days of application and keep them for two years.

Weed scientists have complained that the new EPA label requirements do not address the movement of dicamba due to volatility. This week the Extension weed science programs at Ohio State University, Purdue University and the University of Illinois collaborated to produce suggestions and precautions for use of dicamba in dicamba-resistant soybeans.

That Extension bulletin notes that doing everything "per the label" does not guarantee there will not be offsite movement. To read recommendations to reduce both primary and secondary dicamba movement, go to:….

For a list of Best Management Practices from Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association:…

For a list of Illinois classes:…

For state dicamba information:







For up to date information on tank mixes and nozzles go to:

Pamela Smith can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN