Time is now to prepare for dicamba applications this spring

Farmers should take the time to carefully read, understand both state and federal pesticide labels.

IFB's Assistant Director of Natural and Environmental Resources, Lyndsey Ramsey, says farmers should take the time now to read and understand dicamba label indication, before the hectic schedule of spring fieldwork, planting and pesticide applications kicks in. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Rachel Torbert

With farmers currently sidelined by cold, wet weather, now is a good time to get familiar with the many intricacies of complicated state and federal pesticide labels, according to Lyndsey Ramsey, assistant director of Natural and Environmental Resources, Illinois Farm Bureau.

“If you haven’t read your labels at this point, you need to go home and get started reading and make sure that you’re prepared to follow all of those requirements, use the correct equipment and think about the timing aspect,” Ramsey said.

There’s plenty to consider and understand, especially when it comes to dicamba application, because of the added state label requirements, Ramsey added.

“The cutoff date is a perfect example,” Ramsey said. “The state said you can’t use the product after June 30, but that is in addition to the requirements on the federal label which say, for soybeans, there is a 45-day window post-planting in which you can use the product or, if your soybeans reach R1, that’s your cutoff. Adding the June 30 date is actually whichever of those three comes first.”

Ramsey said the state’s added cutoff date was an attempt to create a hard timeline for application, making it easier for state employees to go out and regulate use of dicamba products.

“I think they also wanted to get at those precautions, or the advice, from university weed scientists that says you need to use these products very early in the season,” Ramsey said. “U of I, Missouri, Purdue, Ohio State, they all have come out – their weed scientists – and said, ‘You need to use this pre-emergence, pre-planting. If you have to use it post, it needs to be super, super early.’”

Even though the labels are often complicated, Ramsey reminded farmers following them to the letter is of utmost importance.

"The label is the law, and these labels are complex," Ramsey said. "Many of the things we've been saying for years about stewardship are now required. Meaning, stewardship now means thinking well beyond what might have been sufficient a few years ago. Think about your neighbors of all kinds because they are thinking about you."

For more pesticide resources, visit www.ilfb.org/labelaware

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.