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BASF shares some positives of dicamba
December 29, 2017

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By KRISS NELSON

editor@farm-news.com

BASF is working on expanding its training and education for the 2018 growing season.

Additionally, during a recent teleconference, results from the use of the company's Engenia herbicide from 2017 were discussed.

Engenia is BASF's dicamba herbicide that is used for weed control on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

Scott Kay, vice president for BASF U.S. crop protection, said as the last soybean and cotton harvest is completed, the company decided now was a good time to share some of the results they have seen related to the first year use of Engenia herbicide on the market.

"When it comes to growers who have used Engenia herbicide, we are getting very positive feedback in terms of weed control and the yields," said Kay. "Some farmers are saying they had the cleanest field in a decade on their farm."

Kay said he has spoken with growers from Illinois, Iowa and Indiana this summer, discussing their experiences with dicamba and specifically about their stewardship while using the product.

"We asked them what did they do? What was their best practice? What made for a successful Engenia herbicide application?" he said.

There were four areas the company found was a common theme among those growers.

"The ones that were following an application checklist - they clearly had a plan and they had been trained on that plan," he said. "Using approved nozzles was also critical. They had to change what they did before and adopt a new technology and use nozzles specific for this application."

Kay added another area that was important is working together.

"This working together theme we have been talking about all summer and into the fall - we will continue do that with our customers," he said. "I think working together on a new system and new technology is very important. But understanding where crops are in nearby fields and talking to their neighbors understanding what's around you - is a critical element and I think some of our label changes will reinforce that message as well."

The response rate for Engenia from producers, Kay said was high.

"Eight-five percent of them will be using Engenia again next year," he said. "And nearly as many will be recommending it to their neighbors as well, and that is an interesting point. Not only will they reuse, but they also want to share that with their neighbors."

Chad Asmus, BASF technical marketing manager, said BASF is pleased that growers are continuing to have access to the benefits of Engenia herbicide and they remain committed to provide training and tools for proper application.

"We work with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) on these label updates and are pleased to see an emphasis on training and education," he said.

According to Asmus, the new label features requirements for application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more.

"In particular, Engenia herbicide is now a restricted use pesticide," he said. "Only certified applicators and those operating under their guidance may purchase and apply Engenia herbicide."

Additionally, he said applicators must complete dicamba training prior to the application.

Asmus said growers can also expect more equipment application incentive involving automatic boom height controls and broadcast spray hoods be added to the successful nozzle and direct injection programs from last year.

"We believe that when the label is followed, these updates will address concerns for next season," he said. "We look forward to working collaboratively with state agencies to help develop or enhance training programs so that everyone can have a better experience in 2018."

Some of the label changes include only allowing application to be done during daytime hours from sunrise to sunset.

"The purpose of those restrictions and importance of spraying during daytime is to not make any applications during temperature inversions and those typically come in around sunset and persist through the night," he said.

Asmus also said that factors that led to off-target issue of dicamba will be incorporated into training.

"We identified in our field visits last year a number of factors contributing to off-target movement such as improper nozzles, improper boom height, wind speed and direction and in many cases, spray system hygiene," he said. "Not understanding how sensitive soybeans can be to small doses to dicamba and potential contamination points to the mixing and loading process."

Asmus said BASF does not believe volatility is an issue.

"Based on years of research development, we don't believe volatility is a driving factor," he said. "It's important to note that a number of growers did have excellent and positive results last year and we identified multiple contributing factors and we don't believe volatility is one of those driving factors."

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