Soybean leaf cupping, suspected Dicamba injury

Dicamba: What’s happening in Illinois

As neighboring states ban use of in-season dicamba, here’s a look at what Illinois farmers and agronomists are seeing across Illinois soybean fields.

There’s a storm brewing in soybean-producing states and this time, it has nothing to do with the weather. Backlash from off-target dicamba movement injuries in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kansas and Nebraska spread quickly during post-application season. Missouri and Arkansas halted all sales and use of dicamba last week as official drift complaints mounted to 134 and 500 claims, respectively.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has received six alleged misuse complaints as of July 10, says Rebecca Clark, IDOA communications director.   

While low in comparison to neighboring states, University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager says the number of official complaints is not the best way to gauge the breadth of the situation.

Each passing day brings more questions with fewer answers. The first question on the table: Are all the puckered leaves caused by off-target dicamba movement?

Monsanto’s Robb Fraley, chief technology officer, took to Twitter last week to ask farmers to hold off on quick judgement.
Yet all across Illinois, scouting by agronomists, weed scientists and farmers revealed cupped leaves and damaged soybean plants, generally credited to dicamba injury. 
 “It’s everywhere,” says Stephanie Porter, sales agronomist with Burrus Hybrids. Dicamba drift from applications in corn were the first issues Porter spotted, but then different reports rolled in from eastern Illinois, southern Illinois and finally northern Illinois.

“Most of the recent calls, pictures and texts have been traced back to dicamba in soybeans,” she explains. How extensive is the problem? It’s hard to say, Porter notes, as grower applicators and co-ops face similar situations. Several farmers are talking through problems amongst themselves without filing an official claim to the IDOA.

Hager believes the situation will escalate over the next few weeks.

“I could be wrong, but I’m guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Hager notes. Delayed symptomology is part of the false sense of security, meaning farmers may see symptoms appear far after drift occurs. “Exposure and symptoms can be separated by weeks,” he explains.

Part of the frustration for farmers? The feeling that they applied XtendiMax, Engenia or FeXapan correctly, only to find off-target damage two-to-three weeks later, says Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics.
Every incident is unique, Porter notes, and most farmers have started with a phone call to their applicator when they suspect off-target dicamba movement. Some farmers have sought help from their seed company representative to confirm the damage, while others want someone to help settle a dispute.

The process starts by reaching out to your neighbors, Porter says, and finding out which herbicide they applied and when. “I can’t do that part for you,” she says. Every single incident is a mystery that farmers should document with photos and clues, Corrigan notes.
“Unfortunately, most of it’s from off-label applications,” Porter notes. “Not spraying at the right time, wind issues or spraying at night.”

“We’ve probably had everything occur,” Hager notes. “There were not many days where it was possible to spray within label requirements.”

Josh Gunther, Burrus Hybrids, used weather data from 2013, 2014 and 2015 to compare label requirements and possible XtendiMax, Liberty and RoundUp PowerMax application hours. “On average, there are half as many hours available to spray on label with XtendiMax compared to Liberty and RoundUp,” Porter explains.

Every growing season has different weather conditions, she notes, but the calculations indicate just how small the application window can be, especially considering temperature inversion frequencies.   
What can farmers do? “It’s all up to the individuals,” Hager says. “Try to work it out or, if you’re not getting anywhere, you have every right to file a formal complaint.”

Farmers or individuals may file a complaint by filling out and submitting the pesticide drift complaint form or by calling IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD) or 217-785-2427. Complaints must be filed within 30 days of the incident or within 30 days from when damage was first identified.
TAGS: Crops Soybean
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