ASA steps up urgency in search for answers on dicamba damage

Wisconsin State Farmer
A soybean plant that has been affected by dicamba near Iowa State University in Ames on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

ST. LOUIS - As nationwide reports of dicamba-related damage to soybeans and other crops continue to climb, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore reiterated the association’s commitment to find a solution to the issue:

“This issue isn’t going away—in fact, it’s only getting worse. There are now a reported 2,242 complaints affecting 3.1 million acres of soybeans in 21 of our 30 soybean-growing states, and we expect that number to continue to rise. This is unacceptable, and we are committed to establishing both a cause and a path forward on the dicamba issue, including what actions need to be taken to assure that soybean farmers can use the product safely without damaging their own or their neighbors’ crops.

“We continue to strongly support independent research underway at several land grant universities and coordinated by the national soybean checkoff to find answers. This includes research at the University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, University of Missouri, Mississippi State University, the University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Tennessee, and University of Wisconsin.

“We need this independent university research as well as other efforts by the national and state soybean checkoffs to determine the root causes of this widespread problem and how to address them, whether that be additional education, application restrictions, or other actions to ensure that low-volatility formulations of dicamba stay on target and don’t damage neighboring crops.

“There is an important good neighbor aspect to consider here as well. While damage may be related to product sprayed over soybeans, the effects have reportedly impacted other adjacent crops, including tree fruit and other specialty crops. As the policy representative for soybean farmers, ASA has a duty to ensure that we are successfully coexisting with other crops, so we take these reports very seriously.

“And, we continue to engage the relevant technology providers to determine what went wrong and how we can move forward. Their cooperation will be key as we try to find answers to questions regarding product performance or volatility, environmental conditions, off-label application or use of older formulations, tank mixing and clean-out, or other causes. It is very important to recognize that we do not yet have all of the data we need to clearly determine the causes of this problem, or the next steps we’ll need to take.

“It is absolutely true that farmers need and want new technologies to help fight resistant weeds, and we are going to support the marketing of those new technologies and new formulations. That need is not blind, however, and we need to ensure that these products can be used by farmers in varied climates and growing regions safely.”