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Signs of dicamba damage to soybeans Photo by Mark Loux.

Beck’s Hybrids weighs in on dicamba

By Matt Reese

With a November deadline looming for an Environmental Protection Agency decision on the future of dicamba-resistance technology, leaders at Beck’s Hybrids decided it was time to comment on the matter.

In late July, Sonny Beck sent a letter to the EPA asking for the XtendiMax, Fexipan and Engenia labels to be modified to restrict dicamba in its current formulations to pre-plant only. Dale Minyo talked with Scott Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids, about the letter and the company’s view of dicamba technology moving forward.

“Our purpose was simply to support the technology. We believe farmers do need dicamba-based chemistry as a tool, however with the results of last year — the training that took place, the restrictions the EPA did impose for certain states, the timing of the applications — we are still seeing damage this year,” Scott Beck said. “Our concern is that if we don’t properly steward the technology by making it a pre-plant application only, then we are going to continue to cause harm in farmer-to-farmer relations and the agriculture industry to the public. Even though we can do everything right as a farmer or as an applicator, the potential is there for volatilization. That is something we can’t control and nobody is able to step in and say they are liable for it. Insurance won’t cover it even if an applicator does things properly and damage is still done.”

In addition to the possibility of damage to sensitive crops, the long-term viability of the technology is also important to preserve, Beck said.

“We thought the best practice to preserve the technology is to steward it as pre-plant only. There are other technologies in the pipeline we believe will have good efficacy for post- application control. In fact Roundup Ready 2 Xtend beans in a few years will have the ability to apply Liberty in Roundup Ready 2 XtendFlex,” he said. “That new technology would be a great system with dicamba early followed by Liberty where you don’t have to have the buffering restrictions and the setbacks from neighboring crops. We think this is a step in the right direction to preserve this technology and make it safer for the farmers and for the public.”

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