Crop mix, lack of dicamba knowledge created perfect storm in Bootheel: Part I

About 40 percent of the herbicide injury complaints received in the Missouri Bootheel last summer involved temperature inversions and volatility.

Kevin Bradley says he believes temperature inversions and volatility accounted for about 40 percent of the more than 200 herbicide injury complaints from illegal applications of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant crops in the Missouri Bootheel in 2016.

The other 60 percent were primarily due to “drift, right out of the sprayer,” said Dr. Bradley, Extension weed scientist with the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University’s lead investigator on most of the complaints in Missouri last summer.

The Missouri Bootheel is one of the most agriculturally diverse regions of the country. Besides all of the major commodities, farmers also grow numerous vegetable and tree fruit crops, including watermelons, tomatoes, field peas, peaches and pecans.

Thus, when farmers began spraying dicamba illegally in 2016, they created a “perfect storm” in more than 200 fields in the region, according to Dr. Bradley who was one of the speakers at Pigposium III, a day-long seminar on the fight against herbicide-resistant pigweed held by University of Arkansas weed scientists at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City, Ark., Tuesday (Feb. 28.)

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