Complaints of dicamba drift are popping up across North Carolina.
“We began hearing of off-target incidents last week. I probably hear of one-tenth or fewer of the incidents. If that’s the case, we have quite a few. I know of many growers who have treated a lot of acreage with no problems, but I also know of situations where people have ignored the stewardship practices we promoted and drift has occurred,” said Alan York July 3.
York is the weed specialist and William Neals Reynolds professor emeritus of crop science at North Carolina State University. In February and March, N.C. State conducted mandatory training for farmers and others who want to apply the new auxin herbicides on cotton and soybeans.
York says to his knowledge no complaints have been filed yet with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. But that could change.
“It seems that growers are trying to work the problems out among themselves, which is a good thing. But goodwill goes only so far. I remind growers that we have a time-limited registration for Xtendimax and Engenia. We have them for two years,” York said.
“At the end of two years, EPA will reexamine the situation. In granting the registrations, EPA made it very clear that if off-target incidents occur at ‘unacceptable frequencies’ (EPA’s words), those registrations will not be renewed,” he said.
“In other words, we have to prove to EPA that we have sense enough to use the products without off-target problems. And while we are far from the Mid-South situation, we are not necessarily off to a good start,” York added. “Growers are learning that these products are not the silver bullet they were perhaps expecting. Nevertheless, with resistance to more modes of action popping up, we need all the tools we can get. It will be a shame if a few hard heads cause us to lose this technology.”