Iowa State weed specialist weighs in on dicamba issue

Photo courtesy Iowa State University

Iowa State University Extension weed specialist Bob Hartzler says he can’t remember an issue that has caused such division in agriculture as has the dicamba drift issue.

“We have seen some farmers that have used it and have not had problems and loved the performance. But we have other farmers who have used it, done everything right, and have damaged their neighbors’ crops,” Hartzler says. “So there’s a big split there, and unfortunately, there’s not a real easy solution to this.”

Hartzler says the simplest way to address the issue would be to limit dicamba to pre-plant/pre-emergence use.

“But if you do that, you dramatically reduce the value of the product, since 95 percent of our farmers are using it for waterhemp,” he says, “and if you apply it pre-emergence, that dicamba is broken down by the time most of the waterhemp is emerging. So that is not going to solve our problems here.”

As of August 2nd, the Iowa Department of Agriculture had received 74 reports of dicamba injury. Hartzler says of the several possible sources of off-target movement, volatilization is the biggest concern.

“Dicamba is dicamba. They’ve been playing with that molecule for over 50 years and still haven’t figured out how to make a molecule that still kills weeds, but doesn’t volatilize.”

Link to Bob Hartzler’s dicamba off-target injury update

AUDIO: Bob Hartzler


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