BASF’s Asmus: Volatility ‘Not a Driving Factor’ Behind Dicamba Drift

In a recent survey, 400 soybean and cotton growers across the country said the newest BASF technology, Engenia herbicide, designed to battle tough weeds for dicamba tolerant (DT) crops, provided them with cleaner fields in the 2017 growing season.

Growers rated weed control from Engenia herbicide an 8.6 out of 10 nationally (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best). In a recent survey, 400 soybean and cotton growers across the country said the newest BASF technology, Engenia herbicide, designed to battle tough weeds for dicamba tolerant (DT) crops, provided them with cleaner fields in the 2017 growing season. Growers rated weed control from Engenia herbicide an 8.6 out of 10 nationally (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best).

In addition to high satisfaction with weed control, 85 percent of growers surveyed planned to use Engenia in 2018 and 83 percent planned to recommend the product.

 

Growers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana who were interviewed by Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for US Crop Protection, said stewardship was key to their success with Engenia herbicide, including the following:

  • Adhering to the application checklist
  • Using approved nozzles
  • Understanding what crops were in nearby fields
  • Talking to their BASF representative

While many growers are still harvesting crops, USDA forecasts 2017 soybean production at a record 4.43 billion bushels or 3 percent higher than last year. Soybean yields in key states such as Arkansas and Missouri are also projected to be at or above last year’s record levels. And 2017 national cotton yields are expected to be higher than 2016, up 33 pounds from last year.

“While most growers achieved great results stewarding DT crops this season, some non-DT farms experienced symptomology that may have come from the improper use of the new technology,” said Chad Asmus, BASF Technical Market Manager. “BASF worked with growers to better understand what was occurring.”

Volatility ‘Not a Driving Factor’

On a company conference call on Nov. 17, Asmus denied that volatility was a primary cause of drift.

“Based on years of research and development and our experience with dicamba, we don’t believe volatility is a driving factor based on our research and experience. It’s important to note that a number of growers did have excellent and positive results last year,” he said, adding, “Based on a number of our field investigations from last summer we identified multiple contributing factors, and we don’t believe volatility is one of those driving factors.”

 

BASF field reps investigated 787 soybean symptomology claims during the 2017 season, most of which had no impact on yield. However, in a few isolated cases, yield may have been affected where the terminal growth was inhibited. Main causes include:

  • Incorrect nozzle and/or boom height
  • Wind speed or direction
  • Insufficient buffer
  • Spray system contamination
  • Use of unregistered product
  • Application during temperature inversion

Any combination of these factors could influence off-target movement.

“Developing a fact- and science-based recommendation that focuses on a long-term solution for farmers remains a critical part of working together,” said Asmus. “That’s why we recently met with weed scientists from across the country to share 2017 season results and work collaboratively on a path forward.”

BASF also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an updated Engenia label for the 2018 growing season. The new label adds requirements for spray application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more.

“BASF plans to expand the Engenia On Target Application Academy, our application training program, to make it even easier to get information about how to properly apply crop protection products and use best practices,” said Asmus.

Application materials in both English and Spanish will be available at in-person training sessions and through enhanced mobile applications. Growers can also expect more equipment application incentives involving boom height and sprayer hoods to be added to the nozzle and direction injection program.

“Growers demanded new technology in the fight against resistant weeds and they looked to DT cotton and soybeans and new chemistries as the next evolution in farming,” said Asmus. “By working together and properly applying crop protection products, more farms can experience cleaner fields and greater yields.”

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