“The issues surrounding dicamba-related damage to crops are serious ones, and as the representative organization for the nation’s soybean farmers, ASA is invested in bringing all parties together to find answers and solutions. To do so, we remain in constant contact with those companies selling dicamba-based products, and we are coordinating both with the United Soybean Board and checkoffs at the state level to draw on the data generated by their research into crop damage. We are also working alongside state departments of agriculture and land-grant universities as they investigate to understand what has happened in each specific incident and why.
“The first step in this process is for all parties to determine whether the reported damage is from dicamba or other potential causes. If injury from dicamba spray is indeed the root cause, we next need to understand how this happened. It is at this point that we are confronted with more questions than answers. Investigation and research is needed to determine whether damage stems from any number of factors, including off-label application, product performance or other issues specific to dicamba technology, off-label use of older formulations more prone to volatilization, unusual weather or ground saturation conditions that caused volatilization, use of certain adjutants or tank-mixes leading to volatilization, or other factors. We need all parties at the table to establish answers to these and other questions so that proper action can be taken to both protect crops, and protect access to this technology.
“We understand and support action to abate what is a critical issue in many soybean-growing states, and we understand those actions may include increased education, enforcement, or restrictions. It is important however that we are able to get answers to these questions and establish a path forward as soon as possible so that additional education or other actions can be put in place before next growing season.
“It’s important to note, too, that this discussion is larger than one specific product; farmers need and want new modes of action to tackle the ongoing issue of herbicide-resistant weeds. At the same time however, farmers need assurance that their own and their neighbors’ crops aren’t going to be damaged as a result of normal and label-compliant product use.”