Researchers seek dicamba study participants

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FARGO, N.D. — Farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota are being asked to participate in a national dicamba herbicide spray drift study being coordinated by the University of Missouri.

Richard Zollinger, a North Dakota State University Extension Service weed scientist, on Oct. 16 passed along an invitation from colleagues in Missouri for farmers and applicators to fill out a survey to help determine the extent and circumstances of soybean and other crop damages associated with new dicamba herbicide formulations on the market in 2017.

Monsanto, BASF and Dupont all made products that were available. The Environmental Protection Agency last week approved the product for use in 2018, while state regulators have been studying the alleged damages for possible action.

Kevin Bradley and Mandy Bish at the University of Missouri are attempting to correlate conditions at dicamba application and situations where there was no off-site movement to situations where there was off-site movement in 2017, Zollinger says. Information needs to come in in about two weeks, he said, which would put it the first week of November. The study is being supported by the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board.

The researchers are looking for data from applicators who "maintained exact application information and environmental conditions at the time of application," Zollinger says.

The study is looking for both evidence where the applications "stayed on target and were successful, or that moved off-target," the researchers said.

Data sought includes: location (town, county, and GPS coordinates), application date and application time (if available). The researchers ask the farmers to say whether there was off-target movement (if off-label, how), or whether application was on-label.

"Please note that we have no interest in personal details of applicators, anyone affected by the movement, nor of the retailers," the researchers said. "Also that none of this information will be used against you in any way — it will be used to analyze weather factors that could be related to off-target movement of dicamba only."

After that, researchers will study the historical weather information from the location to do an analysis. The information will be summarized across about 15 states, Zollinger says, and all of the states and "specific site information will be protected and not made public."

"The piece that makes this especially pertinent to North Dakota is our NDAWN (automated North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) weather system which these scientists will use in their analysis," Zollinger says.

For information, contact Zollinger at r.zollinger@ndsu.edu, or Bish at bishm@mssiouri.edu, Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, 122A Waters Hall, Columbia, MO, 65211. For questions, contact Bish at 573-882-9878.