Will #spray17 be the ag story of the year?

While some social media platforms have been abuzz with images of alleged herbicide-drift issues in some fields, the complaint line in Springfield hasn't lit up as it has in some other states. Take advantage of some quick and handy resources to continue practicing good stewardship here in Illinois.

Steve Turner, Chandlerville farmer and president of the Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau, is outspoken about the need for all Illinois farmers to follow good crop-protection stewardship practices, especially related to dicamba. “Let’s remember too, this is kind of a two-year license agreement, so we got to do right out here as farmers … or it’s all going to affect us negatively,” he said.
Steve Turner, Chandlerville farmer and president of the Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau, is outspoken about the need for all Illinois farmers to follow good crop-protection stewardship practices, especially related to dicamba. “Let’s remember too, this is kind of a two-year license agreement, so we got to do right out here as farmers … or it’s all going to affect us negatively,” he said.
By Mike Orso

While grievances related to spray drift of some new crop-protection products that contain dicamba have been reported in Arkansas and Missouri, it has – at least for now – been relatively quiet in Illinois.

Rebecca Clark, Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) spokeswoman, said Friday the department has received four alleged misuse complaints relating to dicamba. Inspectors have been assigned to the cases, and the findings are pending.

In Arkansas, its governor plans to review a recommendation from a state board to impose an emergency ban on dicamba use. The state has received more than 500 alleged misuse complaints.

Similar issues have popped up in Missouri. As of Thursday, the Missouri Department of Agriculture had received more than 100 complaints of alleged herbicide drift related to dicamba use. New crop-protection formulations that contain the product can be used for the first time in many states to help combat yield-reducing weeds that are resistant to glyphosate.

“All eyes are going to be upon you, so don’t make any application errors,” said Steve Turner, a farmer from Chandlerville. “You know what? If you do, it’s going to reflect on all of us out here, and that’s not going to be good.”

The new crop-protection formulations with dicamba require some unique stewardship practices with several resources available that can help:

- GROWMARK has a quick, 15-minute, internet-based dicamba-management slide presentation. It includes management guidelines for the three major products that can be used on dicamba-resistant soybeans. You can watch the presentation at this link.

- Additional information, along with a bundle of other quick resources that include some free tools and lessons from the field, can be found on the Illinois Farm Bureau website. You can find those at this link.

Application requirements may also be different than what some farmers and custom applicators have been used to in the past.

“As a farmer, we’ve always chosen a tip for flow rate or distribution,” said Brian Satorius, a farmer from Petersburg. “Now, we get to improve our droplet size selection. Some of these chemistries are actually wanting an ultra-coarse droplet and it’s just all about putting the right product at the right place.”

Documenting your specific herbicide applications could also come in handy if you’re using the new technology and need to address a complaint.

“The fact that I had data saying this was the wind conditions and direction helps a lot with the IDOA when they investigate,” said Earl Williams, a Cherry Valley farmer. “They were very happy to have my data.”

Earlier this month, the University of Illinois issued a bulletin on what to do if you suspect herbicide drift.

“The IDOA and University of Illinois Extension have important but different roles in assisting citizens of Illinois in dealing with pesticides,” said Aaron Hager, Ph.D., U of I crop scientist. “These roles are based on the IDOA’s responsibilities to administer and enforce the laws related to the use of pesticides and University of Illinois Extension’s responsibilities to educate and solve problems.”

You can find more information on the herbicide drift reporting process at this link.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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