Dicamba Ban in Arkansas

DTN writer Pam Smith reported on Friday that, “The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, with an exemption for pastureland. The board also ruled to expedite the rule increasing civil penalties for dicamba misuse.

“Earlier this year, the board had agreed to increase misuse fines up to $25,000, but those were not originally supposed to kick in until August.

“These are just the first steps in the process of establishing an emergency rule, noted Adriane Barnes, Arkansas Agriculture Department director of communications. The next step includes a review of the proposed rule by the governor before being submitted to the Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for approval.”

The DTN article explained that, “The pending ban and legislation applies only to the state of Arkansas and would be a 120-day halt to spraying. Still, the dicamba drama is being followed closely by farmers, spray applicators and seed salesmen throughout the soybean and cotton belts. Farmers have clamored for new technologies to help fight tough-to-control weeds that have increasingly become resistant to herbicides.

“Dicamba drift complaints in 2015 and 2016 were often blamed on the fact farmers were able to plant dicamba-tolerant varieties, but had no low-volatility herbicide component available.”

Ms. Smith added that, “Dicamba drift issues are also being recorded in Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri. University of Illinois weed specialist Aaron Hager said he’s has seen the puckering and cupping of leaves characteristic to dicamba injury showing up in Illinois this week. ‘Our spray season is about two weeks behind most of the Southern states,’ he said.

“How much injury the symptoms represent is difficult to tell since yield loss is typically connected to the dose the plant receives and the growth stage it is. Soybeans nearing the reproductive stages are typically most vulnerable.”

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