More Dicamba Decisions

Arkansas May Halt Dicamba Use in Soy, Cotton

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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More cupped up soybeans are causing the state of Arkansas to consider drawing a harder line on use of dicamba in-season. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Hager)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- A flood of drift complaints in Arkansas has that state considering a temporary ban on the sale and use of all dicamba herbicides on cotton and soybeans. The subcommittee of the Arkansas Plant Board (ASPB) made the recommendation on Friday to restrict further use this season. The full board will put the emergency rule to a vote on Tuesday, June 20.

Adriane Barnes, communications director for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, told DTN the proposals under consideration would ban in-crop use of dicamba for 120 days. To become a permanent rule, the ASPB would follow the rule-making process, which includes a public hearing, she added.

The state has also set up a special website to monitor the situation http://bit.ly/…. By June 19, there were 97 official complaints of alleged dicamba misuse in Arkansas in 14 counties.

While the spotlight is currently on Arkansas, other states are also reporting the characteristic leaf cupping and puckering that implicates dicamba injury in sensitive crops. Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri are also reporting some symptoms connected with dicamba drift. Post-emergence spraying is now underway in the Midwest. Symptoms generally take from one to three weeks to appear after the herbicide reaches a sensitive plant.

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Dicamba is a selective herbicide that has been used for decades. It comes in several salt formulations and an acid formulation. However, the new traits branded as the Roundup Ready Xtend Cropping System, allowing cotton and soybeans to resist applications of dicamba, were broadly introduced onto the landscape this year. It was hoped that new lower volatility formulations of dicamba would help reduce off-target movements. In 2015 and 2016, complaints rolled in when seed companies sold the Xtend trait, but there were no labeled dicamba products to use.

The ASPB had already limited the use of dicamba products for post-emergence, in-season sprays. Only BASF's Engenia, a new low volatility BAMPA salt formulation, was labeled for use with Xtend crops after April 15 in the state.

In other states, Monsanto's XtendiMax and DuPont's FeXapan, both DGA-based salt formulations containing VaporGrip, are available for in-season applications.

The ASPS investigates in response to complaints or allegations filed by citizens. The website for the board states: "Each year, the ASPB handles a significant number of complaints relating to alleged chemical misuse; the complaints may name a suspected chemical, but until inspectors are able to get on site and diagnose based on symptomology and collect records, there is no way to make a determination on the chemicals used. Since 2015, the ASPB has worked to investigate and in some cases prosecute for a higher than normal volume of dicamba-related complaints."

For more information on the current Arkansas regulations regarding dicamba go to: http://bit.ly/…

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(GH/CZ)

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Pam Smith