Precautions to take when applying dicamba

The best way to avoid dicamba drift is to follow label directions.

Although dicamba can be applied to Xtend soybeans from pre-emergence to early flowering, applying pre-emergence has advantages. One is if your crop isn’t up, your neighbour’s might not be either and can’t be damaged by drift.

“Dicamba provides residual control for a short period of time,” Terry Buss, a pulse crop extension specialist with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, said during the Crop Diagnostics School in Carman in July 2017.

Research shows earlier weed control boosts crop yields.

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Bayer also recommends applying dicamba with nozzles that produce coarse to ultra-coarse droplets and with at least 10 gallons of water — 15 is recommended — an acre.

Spraying should take place when wind speeds are five to 15 kilometres an hour and at sprayer travel speeds of less than 25 kilometres an hour.

Boom height should be no more than 50 centimetres, Bayer says.

Weeds should be less than 10 cm tall.

Ammonium sulphate and ammonium-based additives are restricted from applications.

Farmers shouldn’t spray during inversions or when wind conditions are dead calm, Buss said. The spray might not penetrate the crop canopy and could move to a neighbouring field.

“There is potential for a lot of drift damage if we are not doing things properly,” he said.

Farmers and their employees should also pay more attention to what they and their neighbours are growing to avoid not only drift, but spraying the wrong field, Buss said.

Also be aware of recropping intervals.

Cleaning all the dicamba out of a spray tank isn’t hard but it’s critical, so triple rinse.

Bayer has more information on its website.

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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