Commercial specialty crop growers should register with Driftwatch

Dicamba-resistant crop acreage is expected to increase, and with it the potential for non-target crop damage.

New genetically modified soybeans that are resistant to dicamba herbicides (XtendiMax, Engenia, FeXapan) are increasing in acreage this year. They were developed to combat weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides. Private and commercial pesticide applicators are required to take a class to use the technology and improve the safety of its use. Among the requirements for applying these herbicides is documenting they checked for susceptible crops through a Sensitive Crop Registry or surveying neighboring fields for susceptible crops around the application site.

With that in mind, specialty crop growers with more than half an acre in production should consider registering with Driftwatch and having their fields mapped for easy reference for commercial applicators. Organic growers are already required to register with Driftwatch. Most vegetable and small fruit crops are very sensitive to synthetic auxin herbicides, and very small amounts of drift may cause serious crop injury and yield reduction. Dry beans and non-GMO soybeans are also sensitive.

If you suspect herbicide drift, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 1-800-292-3939 and have an inspector document the damage as soon as possible. Surveying ditch weeds and other non-crop species for damage can also help diagnose a drift event. If you know the responsible grower or applicator, indicate that there appears to be crop damage and ask what they used.  

View the current Driftwatch map for Michigan.

Other requirements for applying dicamba can be viewed in the Michigan State University Extension article, “Application requirements for spraying dicamba in Xtend soybeans.”

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