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Will Indiana Farmers be Able to Use Dicamba in 2018?

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Will Indiana Farmers be Able to Use Dicamba in 2018?

Many Indiana farmers had planned on using a Dicamba product in 2018, but now that may be in jeopardy. The Indiana Pesticide Review Board has recommended to the State Chemist that there should be restrictions on the use of Dicamba in Indiana in 2018. The proposed rule would restrict “any dicamba containing pesticide product must be used in agriculture except by a certified applicator.” The proposed rule is making its way through the state bureaucracy and will eventually find its way to the Governor’s desk.

Ryan Rubischko, with Monsanto, says many growers had been planning on using Dicamba in 2018, “I have talked to hundreds of growers, and they all tell me when they use XtendiMax, with VaporGrip® technology they have been very pleased with the results in their weed control program.” He added Monsanto had expected to see very heavy use of the product in the 2018 season. Rubischko maintains that the label restrictions and application requirements on the product are sufficient to provide protection, “Our application requirements on our label lead to success. Yet, things like using approved nozzles and following buffer restrictions are important when using Dicamba.”

The State Chemist’s Office, however, says it has received over 100 complaints about crop injury and damage from the misapplication of the product in Indiana. Leo Reed, manager of licensing and certification for OISC, said, moving forward, any product containing more than 6.5% dicamba will be a restricted-use pesticide. This means older products such as Banvel will also become restricted use, along with the three new products: XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan. As a restricted-use product, only certified pesticide applicators holding valid licenses can purchase and apply the product. The rule will also allow for the tracking of sales and distribution of the product. In addition, Reed says programs offering continuing education credits for applicators so they can maintain their license will focus on dicamba in 2018. OISC and Purdue University’s Pesticide Programs office will work together to prepare these training sessions, expected to be about an hour long.

It looks like, going forward, growers will have to become a certified applicator or hire one if they want to use Dicamba. Some growers have complained that such a move will increase the cost of using the new technology. Yet, the economic impact statement by the State Chemist’s office says the impact will be negligible, “Because the requirements in this rule will apply only to higher concentration agricultural weed control products but not lower concentration turf weed control products, and because there are currently numerous alternative herbicides that could be used in place of dicamba-containing products, neither pesticide deals and distributors nor pesticide applicators or application businesses will be impacted fiscally.”

With class action lawsuits being filed, Monsanto, in an open letter to growers, promised to support those who use Dicamba. “We are hearing that the overwhelming majority of farmers are experiencing tremendous success during this first year of commercial launch. However, we have also heard reports that some farmers are noticing signs of leaf cupping in nearby soybean fields, which could be attributable to dicamba. Any time we hear reports of potential crop injury, from any cause, it concerns us. We know the passion, energy and financial resources you invest in your fields. Your crop is your livelihood, and you only get one shot a year. We understand. We are taking these reports extremely seriously, and we want you to know what we’re doing about them.”

Hoosier Ag Today will host a special seminar on Dicamba and other weed control issues during the Indiana/Illinios Farm Equipment show, December 12, 2017. Watch for details coming soon on Hoosier Ag Today.