On the third episode of Spill the Beans, Josh Stamper of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture delivered a presentation on what farmers need to know about using dicamba in 2021. The webinar was sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, and can be replayed on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s Facebook page.
In October 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement approving registrations for two over-the-top (OTT) dicamba products — XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide — and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology.
On the flip side, the approval of these products came with additional measures to ensure the products are being used correctly and safely while protecting the environment, including non-target plants, animals and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.
Following the EPA’s decision, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) had to consider the rules and regulations of these products and decide whether to make them more stringent, adopt the registrations as is or outright ban the use of the products for Minnesota.
After much discussion and research, MDA decided to adopt the EPA’s registrations.
Understanding the complexities and regulations of these products are vital to the success of Minnesota soybeans farmers’ 2021 crop.
According to Stamper, MDA’s Pesticide and Fertilizer Management director, the agency will fully investigate complaints/allegations of pesticide misuse of state and federal laws when provided sufficient information and filed in writing.
In order to safety use dicamba this growing season Minnesota soybean farmers should be aware of the following:
It is crucial that applicators understand the required buffer distance for each specific field. Take in consideration wind, equipment, endangered species and other dicamba-sensitive crops surrounding the field, and do not spray if the wind is blowing toward dicamba-sensitive crops and residential areas.
Growers should always maintain a 240-foot downward buffer between the last treated row and the nearest downwind field/area edge. Additionally, a 310-foot downwind buffer plus a 57-foot buffer on all other sides (omnidirectional) of the field must be maintained in areas with listed endangered species.
Utilizing the correct mixtures is important to the effectiveness of each dicamba product. Each registrant has an approved list of tank mix partners and spray nozzles. Read each label carefully for more specific information to determine the most appropriate combination of pesticides, adjuvants and spray equipment.
Record keeping is required for all tank mixtures on the application record. Additionally, producers should be sure the spray system is clean prior to mixing and after application.
All three registrants have a cutoff date of June 30; however, Tavium and XtendiMax also have a usage cutoff associated with the growth stage they are in – Tavium, V4 and XtendiMax into R1.
There are a couple of significant label changes to be aware of, from the 2019 labels to the current label. The label requires that the registrants to be used only on dicamba-tolerant soybeans.
Another key factor to keep in mind is that a pH-buffering adjuvant is mandatory and copies of receipts for VRAs and DRAs are required for application records. Other label changes include the cutoff and buffer restrictions. Read – and understand – the new product labels before mixing the spray solution!
Applicators are required to have a valid Minnesota Commercial/Noncommercial Pesticide Applicator License, or a Minnesota Private Pesticide Certification and must complete dicamba-specific training on an annual basis. A training certificate along with the applicator’s license or certification number will be requested by MDA.
MDA and MSGA have invested resources into working with farmer leaders, legislatures and company officials, taking the time to understand these products to most effectively assist soybean farmers. As there are many precise details, trainings and requirements for the usage of dicamba, it is important for applicators to study the label.
In 2017, MSGA created its Drift Task Force, the first farmer-led group assembled to examine the data and science behind suspected dicamba damage reports in Minnesota, and find a solution to develop best management practices concerning the use of dicamba in dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the state.
Drift Task Force Chair Bob Worth said the task force will be urging Minnesota’s approximately 28,000 soybean farmers to heed MDA’s requirements and immediately report any suspected dicamba damage.
“We really want farmers to keep a close eye on their records this year, because MDA is really going to stress that,” he said. “We’ve been good stewards of this product, and we’re certainly aiming to continue leading on this issue.”
The next episode of Spill the Beans airs next Tuesday at 9 a.m. and Ken Craig and Ron Kopischke of Profinium Inc. to discuss the company’s banking and insurance options. Each episode airs on Zoom and is livestreamed and archived on MSGA’s Facebook page. Register for Spill the Beans here today to become eligible to win a gift card.