As farmers across Indiana prepare for a new season, they will face new requirements to use a familiar weed killer: dicamba.
Dicamba is not new. It has been around for decades and is a common chemical used to control a broad range of weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides, like glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up™. What is new is the recent development of crop varieties with resistance to the herbicide, which has led to a dramatic increase in the number of complaints of damage to neighboring crops that are not dicamba resistant.
In 2017, The Office of Indiana State Chemist received 257 total drift complaints, where the herbicide was sprayed on one field and was carried by wind to a neighboring field. 129 were dicamba related (none in Marshall County). Arkansas, which leads the nation in dicamba complaints, had 596. These numbers represent an alarming increase over previous years and individual states have taken different approaches to solving the problem. Arkansas and Missouri have passed bans on the use of the chemical. Indiana has designated dicamba a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), which means applicators must go through continual education and training.
Last month, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph Soil and Water Conservation Districts hosted a workshop to provide dicamba training, as well as present information on improving soil health. Debbie Palmer from the Soil and Water Conservation District said, “I was encouraged by the large turnout and am hopeful that dicamba drift damage will continue to be a non-issue in Marshall County.”
If you would like more information on dicamba or Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District, please visit www.marshallcountyswcd.org.
Provided by Debbie Palmer from the Marshall County Soil & Water Conservation District