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Options for Weed Control in 2018, Not a Pretty Picture

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Options for Weed Control in 2018, Not a Pretty Picture

The topic of the Tuesday seminar at the IN/IL Farm Show was weed control and the new regulations and restrictions on the use of Dicamba products. Purdue Extension Weed Specialist Bill Johnson said controlling weeds, and especially resistant weeds, is not easy, simple, or cheap. His advice, first of all, is to know that weeds you have, “Know not only what kind of weeds you have, but if they are resistant and to what herbicide. You need to be able to match your weeds with the right system to maximize your effectiveness and minimize your cost.”

Johnson told HAT, if you are planning to use Dicamba technology, honestly assess your ability to handle and apply the product, “You are really going to have to be a sophisticated user to utilize this technology right and minimize the negative impacts.” This will involve being familiar with spray nozzles, weather restrictions, and the latest regulations. There is mandated training that must be taken if you are going to use dicamba. This training is state specific, said Johnson, so if you farm in two states you will need to be approved in both states. He suggested that, for some growers, hiring a custom applicator may be a better option.

Johnson says 2018 will be a do or die year for this new technology, “If we have the kind of problems in 2018 that we had in 2017, the EPA is not likely to renew the registration. If we are able to reduce the amount of off-site movement of the product in 2018, then I think it is a tool we will have for the foreseeable future.”

Johnson says if the EPA does not extend the Dicamba label after 2018, growers will have fewer options when it comes to controlling weeds. Johnson noted the extreme wet and windy weather conditions Indiana had in 2017 caused most of the drift and volatilization complaints. The Indiana State Chemist’s office received over 250 herbicide complaints in 2017, almost half related to the use of dicamba.

Johnson was the keynote speaker at the Hoosier Ag Today Tool Box seminar held Tuesday at the IN/IL Farm Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The seminar on Wednesday will feature meteorologist Ryan Martin with a weather outlook for 2018 and Purdue Ag Economist Dr. Chris Hurt with a look at the farm economy in 2018. The seminars are sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America.