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Miracle weed killer is devastating farms

In the Washington Post

EDITOR’s NOTE: One of the primary purposes of integrated pest management is to prevent pesticide resistance. Unfortunately, as Northeastern IPM Center Director Steve Young says, “the trend in industry, regulatory, policy, and even academia over the past several decades has been a focus on technology aimed at simplifying production practices,” resulting in “fewer and fewer options.” The looming controversy over dicamba use is a prime example. I’ve been reading articles in Delta and Southeast Farm Press over the past several months that show that use of the most recent release of dicamba has torn the agricultural community apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Some farmers have resigned themselves to switching to dicamba-resistant soybeans just to stay in business. The story below, continued in the Washington Post, highlights some of the issues that have been related in the news during the past year and emphasize the importance of a varied pest management program.

article by Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post

Clay Mayes slams on the brakes of his Chevy Silverado and jumps out with the engine running, yelling at a dogwood by the side of the dirt road as if it had said something insulting.

Its leaves curl downward and in on themselves like tiny, broken umbrellas. It’s the telltale mark of inadvertent exposure to a controversial herbicide called dicamba. Continue reading

Weed scientists says temperature inversions responsible for large acreage dicamba damage

In Delta Farm Press

by Ford Baldwin, weed scientist consultant

Continuing with excerpts from my testimony before the Arkansas Joint Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee meeting on dicamba, I will focus on what is required to get a large acreage or a landscape effect from a herbicide.

This effect occurred in the high use areas in west Tennessee, northeast Arkansas, the Mississippi Delta, and the Missouri Bootheel. It is much different than what is happening in areas or states where less dicamba is being applied. In these high use areas, about two to three weeks after the drift and volatility patterns that I described appeared, the bomb went off — both in 2016 and to a much greater extent in 2017. Continue reading

Temperature inversion and herbicide applications

The following tips were presented in a Delta Farm Press article related to the dicamba drift debate. Because some herbicide labels include instructions about not applying during a temperature inversion, I am including the tips below. You can read the entire article in Delta Farm Press.

Here are eight things about temperature inversion based on University of Missouri research you should know now. Continue reading

More precautions needed when spraying with dicamba and 2,4-D

From the Weed Science Society of America

New resistant soybean and cotton cropping systems based on the synthetic auxin herbicides give farmers new options for managing Palmer amaranth and other broadleaf weeds resistant to glyphosate. But scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say special precautions are necessary. Auxin herbicides are known to drift and to cause harm to sensitive, off-target broadleaf plants.

“Concerns about drift led the U.S. EPA to issue time-limited registrations for the auxin herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D of two years and five years respectively,” says Kevin Bradley, Ph.D., past president of WSSA and associate professor at the University of Missouri. “The approved product labels have considerable detail on management of drift and other risks and must be carefully followed to reduce off site movement. Unless growers show they can use these herbicides as labeled, the registrations could easily be revoked.” Continue reading

Weeds could develop resistance to dicamba in three generations

In Delta Farm Press

What happens if farmers follow the same practices they have when other new herbicide chemistries have come on the market over the last several decades?

If they’re not careful, they will simply replace one herbicide with another, as they did with Prowl and Treflan, ALS herbicides, glyphosate and most recently with PPO inhibitors such as Flextar and Reflex. Continue reading

Growers must be careful when using new herbicide technologies

In Delta Farm Press

Rules surrounding new weed-fighting technologies don’t make for a short, or uncomplicated, list, says Ples Spradley.

First off, “Applications of products (Xtendimax, Enlist Duo and Engenia) shall not be made to Enlist or Xtend seed technologies without’” completing new training, the Arkansas Extension pesticide safety education specialist told the crowd at the recent Pigposium 3 in Forrest City, Ark. “If you’re an applicator – private, commercial, non-commercial or commercial applicator technician – and will use those herbicides on those technologies, you must go through our training. The new regulations state that you cannot apply Xtendimax in Arkansas between April 15 and September 15, with a limited exception for pasture applications.” Continue reading

There’s no simple solution to weed control

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana in The Life of Reason. That quote seems fitting to apply to weed scientist Eric Prostko’s warning to growers about overusing herbicide-resistant technology in the absence of other non-chemical weed management. He authored an article in Southeast Farm Press named “7 lessons learned from the ‘glyphosate era’ we must remember.”

Prostko recalls the development of glyphosate-resistant crops that exploded in the US, leading to some of the worst cases of glyphosate-resistant weeds developing because of resistance. Now, he says, growers face another possible era of herbicide resistance, due to auxin-resistant, or AR, crops. Continue reading