New crop technologies trigger new policies

Written by Dr. Jason Weirich on .

As the meeting season begins to slow down and the busy spring season gears up, I hope you’ve learned a few things that will impact your operation in a positive way. If you are a row-crop producer, I’m sure you have been informed about the do’s and don’ts with new herbicide technology—specifically, dicamba—that may be coming to your field or a neighboring farm.

When the subject has come up at meetings over the past six months, I’ve often heard someone say, “We’ve been through this before, and we did just fine.” I hope that that’s the case this time as well. However, compared to glyphosate, it takes such a small amount of off-target dicamba to cause visible damage to crops. Only milliliters of dicamba in a 1,000-gallon tank can cause problems.

With everything going on in the industry today related to this new technology, I want to share MFA’s policy about dicamba:

  • MFA will not custom apply any old formulation of straight dicamba products (including Banvel, Clarity and Detonate). 
  • MFA will not sell over-the-counter any old formulation of straight dicamba products (including Banvel, Clarity and Detonate) between April 1 and Oct. 1 each year. These products will be available outside this timeframe.
  • This policy does not include blended products such as Range Star, DiFlexx and Status.

What does that mean? MFA will steward the new technology to the best of our ability. We will apply and sell new-and-improved formulations, and we will use them as labeled. We believe that this policy is the best for your cooperative. We have heard about all the risk associated with dicamba, and we want to make sure we are following the proper guidelines. I believe we can use these products successfully.

MFA will also participate in the Flag the Technology (see above), a program that the University of Arkansas started several years ago to identify what crop technology is in each field. MFA will provide black-and-white checkered flags with your MorSoy RXT soybeans. We ask that you place these flags in the RXT fields to not only remind you what is planted in that field but also to make your neighbors aware. This will hopefully avoid misapplication of chemicals or drift on your field. MFA personnel are not responsible for placing the flags in the field; you are.

In the past few years, we have seen an increase of LibertyLink fields in our territory, which has caused some issues with spraying the wrong herbicide on the wrong trait. You can guess the outcome. That’s why MFA is taking extra measures to avoid any confusion with the Xtend system. If we will be custom applying XtendiMax or Engenia to your fields, we ask that you communicate with your location in writing via email, text or written document stating what technology you are using. Simply bring in your planting maps, and denote what herbicide trait is in each field. If these documents are correct, and we make a mistake, it is our fault, and we will make it right. Communication among your neighbors, retailer and the applicator is crucial to success.

I’ve had some producers tell me they don’t think this policy will work. I’ve had some even ask me, “Why are we planting Xtend soybeans?” Well, they’re a tool—a great tool, in fact—that allows growers to utilize XtendiMax or Engenia in a burndown situation and plant without the typical plant-back restrictions. It also provides a weapon against weeds that escape our residuals if they are less than 4 inches tall.

With all that being said, we cannot forget the journey that led us here: resistance in the 1990s, glyphosate resistance in the 2000s, HPPD resistance and PPO resistance. It’s only a matter of time until we have resistance to new technologies as well. They aren’t like Roundup Ready. We won’t be able to kill pigweed 2 feet tall. For that matter, anything over 4 inches tall is questionable. We must continue to use residuals and overlapping residuals as I have written about in the past. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about abandoning residuals. This is a big mistake! If we abandon what we have learned, we will be right back where we came from.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your MFA or AGChoice location or to me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hear Dr. Weirich speak about MFA's new policies reguarding dicamba:

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