BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Follow the label and have a plan A, B and even C for weed control during this weather-forced compressed planting and growing season.

Jeff Bunting, Growmark Crop Protection Division manager, said they received phone calls last June when the time was right for a herbicide application, but the wind was in the wrong direction, there were conditions for inversion, or rainfall is forecast and applicators said they can’t spray dicamba at that time.

“If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. Growers weren’t happy with that, but you have to follow the label to make sure we stay within the application guidelines. We can’t afford to lose some of this technology based on some requirements,” Bunting said at Growmark’s May 20 media event.

“It’s not an easy discussion to have with a plant manager, crop specialist or marketing manager because the farmer is saying spray, spray, spray, but we’ve got to follow those labels or we’ll be in violation.

“Follow the label. It’s as simple as that. We’re under the same pressure they are of getting things done in a compressed season. If plan A doesn’t fit, be flexible for a plan B. If plan B doesn’t fit, be flexible for a plan C. The tools are out there, but how do you manage those tools effectively in this compressed season?”

Bunting visited with AgriNews for a Q&A during a break in the Growmark-hosted gathering and discussed a wide range of timely topics.

Are there concerns that if dicamba misuse complaints continue, that once the registration through 2020 expires, it no longer will be approved for use?

I can see that happening. I can see them pull the label in two years if the complaints go up.

Were you surprised when EPA approved a two-year label for dicamba through 2020?

The two-year label didn’t surprise me. It goes back to understanding the EPA views, the registration process.

They approved the two-year window from the standpoint of the product and application stewardship, so they don’t have another issue down the road that they can’t get out of, and so the EPA is probably more risk adverse than they had been in the past and allow the registration for two years and then figure out how to modify it.

A farmer called this reporter last year to discuss dicamba. He didn’t have the trait on his field, but a nearby field did and was treated with dicamba. The application was done exactly by the label under good conditions. However, his field was impacted by dicamba. His question was can dicamba move the following day or two even though the application was done as labeled?

It can. I always wonder if the acid on that plant that doesn’t get absorbed becomes re-hydrolyzed, so it would get more moisture and then pickup and move the next day with a dew the next morning. I’m not sure if the registrants or universities have ever looked at that.

I just see some strange things that have occurred there and you’re thinking why the next day. Could it be another field that someone was spraying corn and that came in?

We’re planting corn and soybeans at the same time, applications are happening at the same time, so we may be looking at the soybean field thinking there’s a problem when it could be the guy’s cornfield next to you that has dicamba because that cornfield doesn’t have a buffer, doesn’t have a border, it doesn’t have the same requirements that dicamba on soybeans has.

Are there any other products coming down the herbicide pipeline?

You have Enlist 3 (2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate tolerance), XtendFlex soybeans (dicamba, glyphosate and glufosinate tolerance) that’s coming in 2020, MGI (mesotrione, glufosinate and isoxaflutole tolerance) soybean coming and the Balance GT (glyphosate and isoxflutole tolerance) soybean coming.

So, there are things coming, but I wouldn’t view that it has the same performance that we have with dicamba today. This stuff just works.

It’s done a great job controlling some weeds that we had a hard time in the past controlling with either glyphosate or other PPO chemistries.

We’re in a time crunch as far as getting the fields clean and planting. What are some recommendations you have in terms of farmers being able to manage their system under the current conditions?

There are a lot of guys right now that are wondering if they should plant into this mess of weeds out there or try to burn things down. I’ve had guys say when it’s fit they’re going to work it and hopefully control those weeds.

Every situation is somewhat different depending upon what they can do. A burndown that gives you that two or three days of knockdown, I think in my mind we use a lot more of those products.

The 2,4-D is probably pulled out of those applications because of the seven-day plant back restriction. So, do you look are more of a Gramoxone paraquat type product, do you move that dicamba up closer as a burndown, do you till it?

My big concerns is if you get into a compressed season, and we’ve had some somewhat compressed seasons in the past, farmers stop using residuals in those applications.

When soybeans are planted and they’re up in three days and there’s no way you can get over all of those soybeans to get those pres on in a timely fashion, so that gets pulled out, you put all of that pressure on the post side and I think those are recipes to have disasters come July and August when you were relying on one or maybe two passes to get things done.

Every season, every field, every county, every township is somewhat unique in how to manage that and it may be a blend of all of those together to get this season somewhat wrapped up.

Is there a point where farmers should switch to different maturities as planting gets later?

I had a couple that were discussing changing up the 112-day to 106-, 104-day. It all depends on how you want to manage that. When we get into that June 1 timeframe, it’s probably time to be looking at what you’re planting and how long you want that crop out there.

If I’m looking at the maturity group, more times than not, it’s probably going to be hot and humid around state fair time and do you want all of your corn to pollinate at the same time or some diversity in regards to when it’s going to reach the VT stage either on the front end or back end to kind of manage that?

It’s how much risk management you want to take on and mitigate that by looking at maturity groups. If you’re all 108-, 110-day, I’d probably look at diversifying that up a little bit right now and maybe go a little earlier and go a little bit later.

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or tdoran@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.

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