Production Blog

Create a Dicamba Plan

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Soybeans are super sensitive to off-target movement of dicamba. In this field split between dicamba tolerant and non-tolerant soybeans, a spray application moved beyond the dedicated buffer to pucker varieties sensitive to the herbicide. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Illinois (DTN) -- Airline pilots and flight crews wouldn't consider taking off without conducting a preflight checklist. University of Tennessee weed scientist Larry Steckel said there is no reason spray applicators can't do the same.

The EPA served up a tough batch of requirements for the new formulations of dicamba (Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax) for the 2018 spray season. The need to remember the rules become even more critical in areas where the planting season is delayed and spray windows narrow.

"For our training, we use the memory acronym: SEAT," he said, and advised you remember these things before you take the seat in the sprayer:

SURROUNDINGS:

-- You must document that you located (or attempted to locate) sensitive crops near your fields

-- Buffer zones 110 feet downwind (0.5 lb rate of dicamba)

-- If sensitive crop is downwind DO NOT SPRAY!

EQUIPMENT:

-- Start with a clean sprayer

-- Apply the approved dicamba products only with approved nozzles

-- Use the nozzles at the recommended pressure

-- Do not run sprayer over 15 mph

-- Keep boom at 24 inches or less above the target

-- End with a clean sprayer

APPLICATION:

-- Only apply Engenia, FeXapan or XtendiMax to Xtend crops

-- Only make Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax applications at wind speeds between 3 and 10 mph

-- Do NOT use AMS

-- Only tankmix approved pesticides

TIMING:

-- Apply the approved dicamba formulations to weeds less than 4 inches tall

-- Avoid spraying into temperature inversions

-- Observe rain-free interval

-- Keep thorough records

In the coming days DTN is running a series of stories called: Dicamba Details. It digs into the various ways dicamba moved off-target in 2017 and what to do about it.

As part of your spraying plan, watching weather forecasts for proper conditions is critical to success. Spray apps (such as DTN's Spray Outlook and others) are being provided by the industry and can help applicators look head for poor conditions.

However, these new predictive tools are not a substitute for checking actual conditions in the field at the time of application. For that, you have to get off your seat!

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

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(ES/BE)

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