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Diacamba not kind to all soybeans

Hello, Trumbull County. As we count down the last few days until we start the new year, it is a good time to reflect on the 2017 growing season.

The adoption and widespread use of dicamba-resistant soybeans provided a great opportunity for farms dealing with troublesome weeds, but issues with application errors and volatility led to many drift complaints.

Dicamba is a highly volatile herbicide that can volatilize and drift quite a distance depending on conditions. Soybeans that are not resistant to dicamba herbicides can be easily damaged when exposed to the chemicals.

New formulations of dicamba sold under a variety of trade names are supposed to be less volatile, and only these new formulations are labeled for use on dicamba-resistant soybeans.

While Ohio had its fair share of complaints, most of the complaints in the U.S. came from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and neighboring states. These complaints led to restrictions being imposed on the use and timing of application in at least one of those states.

Farmers, university scientists, commodity groups and agronomists all over the country made calls to politicians and public officials in an effort to curtail the damage. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted several changes to the regulation of dicamba.

The first is that dicamba products are now classified as “restricted Use.” Prior to this change, anyone could purchase and use dicamba. The change means applicators must have a state-issued pesticide license to purchase and use.

Second, changes were made to the label for when applications can be made. Specific changes were made to lower the required wind speed, and restricts the time of day for applications to reduce the risk of wind drift and volatilization, respectively.

Third, updated sprayer tank cleanout procedures must be followed to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

The biggest change is that applicators who want to use in-season application of dicamba products must go through an annual training about proper chemical use to be in compliance with the chemical label. These trainings will be offered by the chemical companies and are expected to last about an hour and a half.

The exact details of the trainings have not been finalized, but will be available for the 2018 growing season.

Dicamba, when used properly, is a very powerful tool in controlling troublesome herbicide-resistant weeds. Farmers will need to evaluate the risks and benefits of using this new technology on their farm. I encourage all farmers using dicamba (new and old formulations) to read the label carefully to minimize the risk of drift and volatilization.

You can find more information about the changes to dicamba at the following links: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/blog/tue-10242017-917pm/what-will-dicamba-changes-mean-farmers and https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-and-states-collective-efforts-lead-regulatory-action-dicamba

This is a very short summary of the dicamba story that emerged in 2017. If you would like to get the full story, please consider attending our next Trumbull Crop Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Trumbull County Agriculture and Family Education Center in Cortland. OSU Weed Scientist Mark Loux, and Ag Law Professor Peggy Hall will be discussing the current research on dicamba, and what updates are currently being addressed at the Ohio Legislature.

Pre-registration is required for an accurate count for food. To register, call 330-638-6783.

The Master Gardeners will be offering a training class for new Master Gardeners starting in February. Becoming a Master Gardener is a great way to increase your gardening knowledge and volunteer to help fellow gardeners in the community. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, call our office and ask for an application. You can also download an application from our website at trumbull.osu.edu. We have extended the application deadline to Jan. 5.

For information about dicamba rules, the Master Gardener program, or any other program, call the OSU Trumbull County Extension Office at 330-638-6783, or visit trumbull.osu.edu.

Have a safe, relaxing, and happy holiday season!

Beers can be reached at beers.66@osu.edu or 330-638-6738.

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