Starting this year, those who apply the herbicide dicamba to growing plants will be required to go through training on proper application before using it. In 2017 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new restrictions, including only certified applicators can apply it, specific records of its use be kept and new spray drift mitigation measures be followed.
Dicamba’s label was updated to reflect these changes, which were made to address complaints about the weed killer spreading beyond where it was sprayed, harming plants in other fields. In Ohio there were more 27 official complaints of dicamba damage, said Matt Beal, chief, division of plant health for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which investigates reports of damage and gives its findings to the U.S. EPA. The federal agency is monitoring how successful these new changes are to help it determine whether to continue to allow application of dicamba to growing plants beyond 2018.
Training sessions on how to properly apply dicamba will likely conducted by manufacturers Monsanto, BASF and DuPont and possibly through an online training module, according to Mark Loux, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist. That training is expected to take place before this year’s spring planting season.
“Anybody who applies this material has to go through this mandatory training,” Beal said. “If a person buys the product and uses it and there’s a complaint, if it’s not documented they went through training, they’re in violation of Ohio’s pesticide application law. The penalties can range from a field notice warning to civil penalties and criminal penalties although that’s rare because usually there’s no criminal intent.”
Ohio State, Purdue University and the University of Illinois have put together a fact sheet on the stewardship of dicamba. To report dicamba damage, contact Ohio’s Pesticide Regulation Program at [email protected] or 614-728-6987.
Dicamba Label Modifications for 2018