Production Blog

What's Driving Dicamba Decisions

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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DTN poll results show that spray applicators are being a bit cautious for the first season with new herbicide trait technologies. (DTN graphic)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- There's a seismic shift in crop traits in the works and some of the change will be felt in 2017.

Here's how the new trait landscape shapes up this spring:

-- Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology heads to the field with all approvals in place and three labeled and newly formulated dicamba herbicides. Xtend traits will be planted in both soybean and cotton.

-- The Enlist Weed Control system is still a question in soybean and corn. Dow AgroSciences will have Enlist PhytoGen cotton varieties available in 2017 and Enlist Duo, a premix of 2,4-D choline and glyphosate, is now registered in cotton. Enlist Duo is also registered for use in corn and soybean, but the Enlist soybean trait lacks the necessary import approvals in China and the European Union (EU) and Enlist corn does not have the approvals needed for export to China. Mycogen seed representatives have said that Enlist seed could be commercialized in corn and soybean if those approvals come, but the likelihood of a launch in 2017 fades as planting season nears.

-- Balance GT, a MS Technologies and Bayer collaboration, is a new soybean preemergence weed control trait system that tolerates the Group 27 HPPD site of action. The trait has all the import approvals necessary to launch. However, Bayer awaits regulatory approvals of Balance Bean, the isoxaflutole-based chemistry to use with the trait. Bayer officials have stated they will not commercially launch until all components of the trait system have full regulatory approvals -- which will likely be 2018.

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While the Xtend technology is fully enabled, last year's debacle with drift complaints and off-label usage has intensified scrutiny. The new federal labels handed down on XtendiMax, FeXapan and Engenia herbicide are detailed and complex.

DTN recently conducted two online polls to see if and how growers might use the new herbicide technologies this coming year. In the first poll (pictured with this article), 48% of the 439 respondents indicated they do not plan to use the new auxin-based trait systems (dicamba and 2,4D are both auxin herbicides) in 2017. Another 30% expect to use the traits because they say they are battling weeds resistant to herbicides. There were 12% of the respondents that felt the new technologies offer them access to the latest in seed genetics. The remaining 10% of those answering the poll said they intend to plant new herbicide trait technologies as an insurance against possible drift or off-target movement from neighboring spray applications.

This month DTN followed with a separate poll aimed at attitudes and/or concerns specifically about dicamba. Of the 300 poll respondents, 52% said they do not plan to plant Xtend seed this year. Another 25% said they are aware of drift concerns, but felt proper precautions will manage the risk; while 16% are not worried about keeping dicamba on-target and expect to do their own spraying. Only 7% indicated they intend to have dicamba herbicide custom applied in 2017.

DTN polls allow one answer. Given the questions and discussions heard at farm meetings this winter, it's likely that several scenarios fit each question. Some farmers have said they will try the Xtend trait on limited acreage to see how they like it. Others are concerned enough about drift and the liability associated with it to plan on custom applicators to spray sensitive acres -- although there are reports that retailers are charging more to spray dicamba.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted the new auxin technologies a "living label." Updates on new nozzles, adjuvants and tankmix partners are being added for all the herbicides that accompany these trait technologies. Applicators that intend to utilize these products need to check the appropriate websites for updated compliance requirements.

For example, some approved herbicides require the adjuvant called Intact when being tank mixed with XtendiMax. The Engenia website offers growers even more specifics by detailing which nozzle and adjuvant should be used with each tank mixture.

Here's where to find updates:

www.Engeniatankmix.com

www.Fexapanapplicationrequirements.dupont.com

www.Xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com

www.EnlistTankMix.com

(AG)

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