In the immediate aftermath of the Arkansas State Plant Board’s decision to ban the spraying of dicamba on Xtend crops, sides in the debate are urging supporters to call the governor’s office. The ban, if it is to happen, must first be approved by the governor and then a state legislative committee.
Following the Plant Board’s vote last Friday (June 23), Monsanto put out a statement urging calls to the Arkansas governor to halt any ban. At the same time, a grassroots movement among those favoring the ban urged supporters to do the same.
If the ban happens, says Jason Norsworthy, University of Arkansas weed scientist, "in practical terms this means that individuals growing Xtend soybeans are going to have to treat them as if they’re Roundup Ready soybeans.”
A ban could happen quickly but until those signatures are on paper, “the Xtend crop can be sprayed with (the dicamba formulation) Engenia. After that, you’ll have to revert to another weed control program. You’d also be looking at other non-chemical controls like cultivation or hand-removal. Those are the options.”
Cotton is a bit different with “the option of a three-way stack of dicamba, glufosinate or Liberty and Roundup. So, there are a lot more chemical options in cotton than in soybean.”
While Norsworthy can’t say what will ultimately happen “there’s a lot of speculation from folks outside Arkansas wondering how their states might react. A lot has happened in Arkansas in the last few weeks and eyes are on us.”
That is true, says Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri weed scientist. And suspected dicamba drift damage reports – some Bradley will be walking on Wednesday -- are picking up in the state. “According to the calls I’ve gotten from growers, there’s a lot of suspected dicamba drift in the state. A lot. One of the problems with giving an exact accounting is the procedure of reporting a drift incident has changed. Now, they’ll get a form from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to fill out and they’ll send that back in. That’s slowed things down.
“Regardless, there’s a lot of injury happening and a lot of farmers, because of what they went through last year with drift, are frustrated. I think there will be complaints from outside the Bootheel. Most of it is soybeans but the damage complaints I’ve heard is also on diverse crops with some vegetables, peas, melons and other things.”
With the Arkansas State Plant Board’s move to ban dicamba is there any noise about Missouri doing the same?
“There is a movement to ban it – especially for the Bootheel geography. I don’t know much beyond that or where it’ll go. That’s in the (Missouri) Department of Agriculture’s wheelhouse and we’ll probably know how they’re leaning in the next week, or two.”