Dicamba Updates: For those of you who farm in both Nebraska and Kansas, or have customers that do, the following is what is needed for RUP-dicamba training. Nebraska and Kansas have a reciprocal agreement regarding private, commercial, and non-commercial applicator training. Those who have a KS applicator license who wish to apply RUP dicamba in Nebraska don’t need to take additional pesticide training in Nebraska. They do need to apply for a reciprocal license in Nebraska through the NDA and pay the $25 fee (private) or $90 fee (commercial/non-commercial) for a Nebraska pesticide applicator license. There is no additional fee for dicamba training in Nebraska. Kansas Dept. of Ag accepts Nebraska’s dicamba training with no further requirements. Nebraska will accept Kansas dicamba training IF you can also prove you watched the NDA Nebraska specific requirements video. Otherwise, it’s perhaps simpler to take the RUP online dicamba training from Nebraska or attend a Nebraska face to face session.
If you missed the UNL face to face sessions for your area, you can also attend Industry trainings which are upcoming and listed on the NDA website at: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/dicamba.html (please refresh your browser). And, you may wish to attend an industry training anyway depending on the product which you plan to apply to hear more about specific buffer requirements and ask specific questions.
Also, to be clear, anyone who has attended UNL trainings will not receive certificates. Your proof of training will be to download the excel spreadsheet at the NDA website listed above and ensure your name is on that spreadsheet. I’ve been asking that you give NDA 7-10 days before checking it with all the paperwork coming in right now. If you attend a training and don’t see your name, please contact the trainer whose session you attended. It may take longer for those of you who became new pesticide applicators.
The York UNL dicamba training has been rescheduled to February 16 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the 4-H Building at the Fairgrounds in York. Updated FAQs can be found at this site (https://pested.unl.edu/documents/RUP_Dicamba_FAQ_2018.pdf) as we receive questions and verify answers with NDA and EPA (please refresh your browser for the updated info.)
Converting ground to annual/perennial forage systems: For the past few years, some of you have spoken with me about converting a pivot to an annual forage system if you owned the land and had cattle. We’ve worked through some economics and a handful of you have tried various options. With current corn and soybean prices, I’ve received an increasing number of questions regarding this topic from farmers and ag lenders. A team of Extension specialists including Dr.’s Jay Parsons, Mary Drewnoski, and Daren Redfearn are seeking your input into what they’ve put together for economics of example systems this coming year. A webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th beginning at 6:00 p.m. CST. To participate, you can click on the following url: https://unl.zoom.us/j/827594794. Audio can be through your computer speakers or you can also call in. Full details regarding phone number options and additional information can be viewed at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/economics-annual-and-perennial-forages-webinar. The goal of this webinar is to explain economic examples for both annual and perennial forage systems using different classes of cattle and allow you to provide input into those numbers and ask questions. For those of you interested in this topic and/or are already using annual forages/converted pivots to perennial grass systems, we’d greatly appreciate your input and please do consider sharing your insight!
York County Corn Grower Tour: Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator Emeritus, has planned a great Corn Grower tour for those interested in attending on February 13th! Please call the York County Extension Office at (402) 362-5508 if you plan to attend. Attendees will meet at the York County Extension Office at 8 a.m. with travel to Lincoln at 8:30 a.m. Tours in Lincoln will include Nebraska Innovation Campus (including Nebraska Innovation Studio (the makerspace), the Food Innovation Center, and the Greenhouse Innovation Center, home of the LemnaTec High Throughput Plant Phenotyping system). Attendees will then tour Quantified Ag that developed cattle ear tags equipped with sensors to monitor the health of the individual as well as the herd. Lunch at Valentinos will be followed by Campus visits including learning about biobased textiles, the Ag Econ Marketing Lab/Commodity Trading Room, and the UNL Dairy Store. The final stop will be at Neogen labs that develops, manufacturers, and markets a diverse line of products dedicated to food and animal safety before traveling back to York around 5:15 p.m. You can view more details and the full itinerary at: https://jenreesources.com/2018/01/29/york-co-corn-grower-tour-feb-13/.
Last week was the first week I hosted dicamba trainings. Socially I haven’t seen the divisiveness within conventional ag that I’ve observed around this topic.
As I showed the dicamba videos, I stopped on a couple of slides to make a few points that were true for our area of the State last year; some farmers thanked me for doing so at the end of my trainings. This column is going to focus on these points because they’re not being discussed and by not talking about them, we’re not sharing the entire story of what happened in Nebraska last year. Caveat: I’m speaking only from my observations for the area of the State I serve and my news column is not peer reviewed.
The majority of my calls still come from Clay, Nuckolls, Thayer, and to a lesser extent Fillmore Counties because we’ve built relationships and I continue to serve you till we have a new educator in Clay County. I received my first dicamba call in June. All but three soybean fields along the way to the field I was asked to look at were cupped for the entire field. There was drought stress in the area and at first I wondered if there was something environmental occurring. Then I started making phone calls as to what herbicides were applied to crops in the area. No one met me at the fields that day-I just spent the entire afternoon/early evening walking fields and taking pictures for a 20 mile radius. In my inquiries I learned numerous corn fields all had corn dicamba formulations applied to them; the soybean fields sprayed at that time only had burndown apps but not post-apps. I continued to look at damaged soybean fields for six weeks in 10 counties.
When we think about last May, it was wet, cold and windy delaying corn post
applications. The first few weeks of June were very hot and humid and in my notes I mentioned “seemed like the whole countryside was spraying corn at one time”. Humidity may have decreased during the night and some felt light winds may have shifted directions some evenings. There was potential for increased volatility and temperature inversions and in discussions a handful of agronomists agreed that “herbicide seemed to hang in the air”. Palmer had gotten too tall very quickly and corn dicamba formulations went on hundreds of thousands of acres in the area-more than what we’ve before experienced-and, they did a nice job against palmer in most situations.
Much of what we see and hear is about the three now RUP dicamba products that were used last year. I’m not saying that damage didn’t potentially occur from these formulations. However, at least 90% of off-target movement I looked at primarily in Thayer, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and Clay started with corn dicamba formulations. I don’t know if that is the case in other parts of the State. I was able to determine the same thing in specific situations I was called out to in York, Seward, and a few central Nebraska counties. As the summer progressed, the soybean formulations came more into play and we were also finding 2,4-D damage based on samples sent to the South Dakota lab, which is also interesting. There’s fields I looked at that were affected by off-target movement twice and a couple even perhaps three times as the summer progressed.
Why do I say so much damage started with corn apps? When I couldn’t figure out what
was occurring, I let the plants tell the story. UNL Research from Dr. Jim Specht says a soybean will produce a new node every 3.75 days. Research on dicamba shows that it takes 7-14 days for leaf damage to occur on susceptible plants. So I started counting nodes. I counted how many total nodes were on the plant and multiplied by 3.75 to figure out how many days old the plant was. I then figured out about the date of the trifoliate with the leaf cupping damage and counted back on the calendar 7-14 days. This correlated over 90% of the time to a corn dicamba product applied…and often several farmers or Coops in the area applied products so it was hard to tell where it came from. Most I talked to agreed to just wait till harvest because with whole-field damage, there wasn’t a good way to compare yields. There may be a better method and I wasn’t aware of others doing this till I started sharing it last summer in my news column-but it’s the only thing I could figure out at the time. I chose not to report the number of calls I received nor acres damaged as I was unsure how the information would eventually be used; thus, to answer the questions why on power-point presentations, the areas I serve remain blank regarding reporting when you all know we had large numbers of acres damaged.
Another point. There’s a number of ways that pesticides can move off-target including particle drift, through tank contamination, temperature inversions, and volatility. New research is also looking into movement on dust particles. If we just look at the potential for volatility, we know the three RUP products do not have ammonium sulfate (AMS) in them and it is off-label to add AMS. Research has also shown these three RUP dicamba formulations to be 50-70% less volatile than other dicamba formulations. There’s over 30 corn dicamba formulations registered for use in Nebraska; some have AMS in them or most allow AMS to be added to them.
Why is this important? AMS can increase the potential for volatility. In research from the University of Arkansas and from Purdue, soil was treated and placed in low tunnels between two soybean rows. The low tunnels were removed after 48 hours then percent soybean injury was measured. For example, adding AMS to Xtendimax (which is off-label but allowed for research purposes) resulted in a 20-30% increase in soybean injury due to volatility. The injury observed was similar to that of Banvel. The non-RUP corn dicamba labels allow for use of AMS while the RUP dicamba labels don’t. The label is the law and a legal document.
So what do we recommend for best management practices for corn dicamba apps? We’ve had numerous conversations within Nebraska Extension. I’m truly hoping we can come to some consensus based on the research that is known to provide BMPs for you in the next few weeks.
One consideration as we think about resistance management: UNL research found it only took three generations of spraying palmer amaranth in greenhouse settings before resistance occurred. One best management practice would be to not use dicamba in both corn and soybeans each year as it’s a tool too critical for us in managing palmer.
Ultimately, while I’m speaking of dicamba here, the overarching issue is pesticide applications in general and what off-target movement does to all sensitive plants and even what we’re breathing. I realize we can’t control weather. However, we all need to do what we can to always read and follow label requirements to avoid off-target movement of pesticides in all situations. To have another year like last year with great off-target pesticide movement may potentially impact pesticide applications in large ways in the future.