Understanding Dicamba: Part 3

 This is the third in a three-part series on using dicamba.
 
Planting season 2019 is nearly here, and that means growers in the Agtegra service area are probably also thinking about applying one of the three main dicamba products: XtendiMax from Bayer, Engenia from BASF and FeXapan from Corteva. However, there are strict regulations that must be followed for utilizing dicamba. In this article, Brad Ruden, Agronomy Tech Service Manager for Agtegra, discusses those regulations and how farmers can follow them.
 
All dicamba application must occur during daylight hours, which is a big change for 2019, according to Ruden. That doesn’t mean growers can be ready to hit the fields at sunrise—dicamba application can occur no earlier than one hour after sunrise, and application must stop two hours prior to sunset. Producers should also watch out for inversion conditions.
 
“With the varying air temperature, you can get a cool layer of air that’s trapped right down by the soil surface,” Ruden says. “It’s very common in late May and June. With those stable air masses, the risk in spraying under those conditions is that any fine, misty particles coming off the sprayer can hang in that air mass, not evaporating, and then move whenever that air mass moves.”
 
Because of the risk of drift with dicamba, another regulation change for 2019 is applying dicamba near residential areas.
 
“If the wind is blowing toward a residential area, growers will want to consider not spraying, instead of relying on a buffer zone,” Ruden says. “It’s just a risk because those areas have a lot of things that can be damaged. Trees and gardens are very sensitive to dicamba.”
 
The federal label for dicamba includes a mandatory buffer of 110 feet. A new change that is helpful to farmers is that roadsides can now be included in buffer calculations.
 
“Most township roads have a 33 foot roadside each side that is maintained and regulated in township codes,” Ruden says.
 
Luckily for producers in the Agtegra service area, there are no endangered plant species requiring an additional buffer area, Ruden adds.
 
Ruden recommends that growers keep records of weather conditions to ensure that they’re following regulations.
 
“Growers also need to scout fields so they can plan applications when the weeds are still small,” Ruden says. “You can still get the most effective use out of your herbicide by applying it when the plants are small. Weed management is a system, and it really means that you want to put down a residual herbicide that gives early control of weeds so you don’t have to reply solely on post-emergence.”
 
Ruden does not discourage producers from spraying dicamba; rather, he points out that all weeds are easier to kill when they are less than four inches tall.
 
“Work closely with your Agtegra agronomist to keep accurate management plans and records and make sure you’re using correct additives and tank mix partners for an effective dicamba management system,” Ruden says.
 

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