Sunday, February 5, 2023

Weed scientists meet to ID needed research on off-target dicamba movement

WSSA logoThe Weed Science Society of America recently released a report based on a recent research workshop on the off-target movement of dicamba herbicides.

The meeting, comprising invited scientists, regulators and registrants, was designed to identify data gaps and develop research protocols to help dicamba users better understand and manage factors contributing to off-target movement, according to a WSSA news release.

Although dicamba herbicide has been registered since the 1960s, use — and the related off-target movement and plant injury — increased significantly after dicamba-resistant crops were introduced in 2016.

The WSSA report focuses on the reported off-target dicamba issues from 2016 and 2017. It also highlights the state of science-based information and research gaps shared by weed scientists, state and federal regulators, application technology specialists and dicamba registrants who gathered for the workshop.

Examples include:

• Track areas planted in dicamba-resistant crop cultivars, as well as the quantities of dicamba used

•  Relate dicamba damage complaints to terrain and weather conditions

•  Improve herbicide labels to address:

uniformity in label organization

finding and interpreting use instructions

listing of dicamba-sensitive crops, landscape and native plants, and trees “neighboring distance”

information for dicamba-sensitive plant species

conditions leading to atmospheric inversions

•  Coordinate applicator training so that all trainers present the same detailed information

•  Perform research to better characterize the potential volatility of new herbicide formulations and to better determine:

dose versus damage relationships for key crops

how to protect growers, property owners and the public from off-target movement modes of dicamba movement that are not currently accounted for.

“There was sentiment from the group that the widespread non-target movement of dicamba was egregious and resulted in damage to crops, private properties and native vegetation,” according to the report executive summary. “Although amelioration of this situation was partly outside of research, attribution of liability should be addressed by appropriate authorities, particularly for horticultural growers who are suffering heavy financial losses. More funding for public research is needed. Concern was expressed that USDA-ARS and USDA-NIFA were not funding the type of research needed to manage off-target pesticide movement.”

Download the WSSA report by clicking here.

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