DDA urging farmers to check before dicamba use
DOVER, Del. — As dicamba use among regional farmers rises, the Delaware Department of Agriculture is asking all pesticide applicators to establish whether they’re working in an area where dicamba use is federally limited before spraying.
The department is urging growers to check on a monthly basis the EPA’s Bulletins Live! Two system, which allows farmers to easily determine where pesticide use limitation areas exist for the protection of endangered species.
Dicamba is an herbicide that can be applied to leaves or soil to control yearly and broadleaf weeds in grain crops and pastures. It’s developed controversy over the last several years for its tendency to drift during application onto neighboring farms and destroy crops that aren’t dicamba-resistant.
“We all knock on wood around here when we talk about dicamba,” said Stacey Hoffman, department spokesperson. “Delaware was just being proactive.”
Sussex County is the only Delaware county with dicamba use limitation areas.
Farmers should print a copy of the website’s bulletin, which is updated monthly, and carry it with them, said Christopher Wade, the department’s pesticides section administrator. That way, if farmers are questioned, they will have proof they checked the site.
Website users will need to enter their address, which will reveal any limitation areas in a pink color. Users will be able to click on the zone for a summary of the products, codes and limitations required. A link to the site is available at https://de.gov/pesticides.
Due to the emergence of Roundup-resistant weeds and other issues, more regional farmers are growing dicamba-resistant soybeans, said Paul Goeringer, a University of Maryland Extension legal specialist. But the region has yet to experience devastating drift issues seen in parts of the Midwest and Southeast over the last several years. More than 1,000 farmers are suing Bayer, a top herbicide manufacturer, for crop damage on their farms due to dicamba drift.
“My understanding is that it’s going fairly well” in Maryland, Goeringer said. “I haven’t heard of many complaints, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been issues that have surfaced yet.”
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