Soybean School: Ontario growers better positioned to manage dicamba


In 2017, many U.S. growers struggled to manage dicamba use with increasing acres of dicamba-tolerant Xtend soybeans.

The dicamba story in Ontario, however, was much different, as growers had few issues with managing the marriage of the herbicide and the new trait.

In this edition of RealAgriculture Soybean School, OMAFRA weed specialist Mike Cowbrough explains that the Ontario experience is really a product of growers being better positioned to manage the technology. The first thing contributing to a more positive Ontario experience was the fact that some of the more volatile dicamba formulations linked to U.S. crop damage are not available in the province. Growers in Ontario used the newer dicamba formulations — Engenia and XtendiMax.

Cowbrough also notes that most Ontario growers stuck to a pre-plant or pre-emerge application strategy where the herbicide was applied before the crop emerged. He adds that cooler springtime temperatures also helped dicamba applications stay put — much different than hot conditions in states like Arkansas, which reported about 800 incidents of dicamba injury.

In the interview, Cowbrough also comments on how Canadian label restrictions were tougher that those in the U.S.

How will the 2018 dicamba story play out? Cowbrough believes that there’s a lot to learn from the past year and Ontario growers will need to be vigilant and pay close attention to spray application best management practices. He’s encouraging growers to be aware of neighbouring crops that may be sensitive to dicamba; make sure their sprayer is equipped to minimize physical drift; and watch the weather.

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