Farm Progress

Commentary: New dicamba herbicides have to be managed well. IFCA offers a new poster with the do’s and don’ts of dicamba use.

February 22, 2017

3 Min Read
NEW DEAL: “This is not like the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans in the mid-1990s,” says IFCA’s Jean Payne of new dicamba herbicides. “This is different. Life today is different. This herbicide is different. The expectations are different, and the label requirements require attention and adherence to many conditions for these products to be legally applied.”

By Jean Payne

Illinois ag retailers and farmers have important decisions to make in 2017 regarding weed management, which includes managing the use of new dicamba herbicides. Engenia, XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and FeXapan with VaporGrip Technology are now available for preemergence and postemergence applications in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans.

These new herbicide technologies should be considered as part of a comprehensive weed management program — and not as the only herbicide mode of action for managing weeds in the short or long term.

The U.S. EPA issued a two-year label for these products for use on RR 2 Xtend soybeans. This means the industry must use them properly to ensure they will be reauthorized for use beyond 2018. Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan are the only dicamba-containing herbicides that are legal for both preemergence and postemergence use on RR 2 Xtend soybeans.

Our obligation
We have the opportunity and obligation to be proactive and demonstrate to the public that we take pesticide stewardship seriously. It will only take a few mishaps — accidental or otherwise — to unravel the decades of work in Illinois that enables the ag industry to be governed by statewide laws on pesticide use.

In Illinois, we have a law called “pesticide preemption,” and it means that local units of government cannot regulate pesticide use. Instead, they must accept the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, including which pesticides are registered for use in Illinois and how rules governing their use are enforced.  

I’ve worked with the Illinois Legislature on pesticide and fertilizer issues since the 1990s, and believe me, pesticide preemption was not easy to get passed in 1993. It is not to be taken for granted. This law can be repealed by the Legislature in the same process as it was granted to us. If gardens, vineyards, vegetable crops, shrubs, trees, flowers or non-tolerant soybeans are harmed by off-target dicamba application, the outcry may well erode 24 years of reasonable pesticide laws in Illinois.

Let’s avoid this scenario by proving we can follow the label and kill target weeds — not non-target crops — with these herbicides. It is truly up to us to do so.

What’s at stake?
To be successful, we must understand and adhere to the label instructions. Failure to follow the label requirements carries statutory and civil penalties, puts the future use of this technology in jeopardy, and could result in additional laws on pesticide use.

Talk to your applicator, understand the label, use good judgement, and don’t make hasty decisions when it comes to weed management. Plan ahead for success. 

This is not like the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans in the mid-1990s. This is different. Life today is different. This herbicide is different. The expectations are different, and the label requirements require attention and adherence to many conditions for these products to be legally applied.  

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association has put together a poster explaining the do’s and don’ts for successful dicamba use. If you would like a copy of this poster, please contact us at 309-827-2774 or [email protected], or download it from our website at ifca.com.  

Payne is president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.

 

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