Ag Leaders Gather To Discuss Solutions For Dicamba Use In 2018

   University of Missouri Extension brought farm, agribusiness and agency leaders together Aug. 24 to address issues associated with the use of dicamba and discuss a path forward for dicamba in 2018.
   Chemical manufacturers, retailers and applicators, crop association representatives, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau, farmers and MU weed scientists were among the cross section of agriculture leaders attending.
   Robert Kallenbach, assistant dean at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said the group met to exchange perspectives on the use of dicamba going forward.
   Farmers have used dicamba, mainly for broadleaf weed control in corn, sorghum, wheat and pastures, since the 1950s. In 2015, Monsanto introduced dicamba-tolerant cotton and added dicamba-tolerant soybean in 2016. Monsanto introduced both to provide growers with additional options for difficult-to-control weeds. The Environmental Protection Agency approved new formulations of dicamba for use in tolerant soybean and cotton earlier this year.
   Growing concern and injury complaints prompted the Missouri Department of Agriculture to temporarily halt sale and application of dicamba in July. New restrictions, via Special Local Need labels, were issued on July 13.
   Widespread crop damage from dicamba grew in 2017 to more than 325,000 of Missouri’s 6 million acres of soybean. Damage to residential yards and smaller acreages of peaches, watermelons, tomatoes, grapes, pumpkins and certified organic vegetables were reported.
   Complaints in 2016 were limited primarily to Missouri’s Bootheel region, but in 2017 complaints came from more than 50 counties across the state.     Complaints grew from 130 in 2016 to 303 to date in 2017.
   Kallenbach said attendees expressed a desire to identify a path forward that best serves the interests of Missouri farmers. “The group put several good ideas on the table that warrant serious consideration,” Kallenbach said.
   Input from this meeting, along with feedback from other stakeholders and surrounding states, will be used to determine future direction. ∆
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