The other Dicamba Story: Chemistry innovations that reduce the volatility potential of an extremely effective herbicide

There was lot of excitement in the farming community with the long-awaited EPA approval of a low volatility dicamba formulation (Xtendimax®) in November 2016 and subsequent launch of three low volatility dicamba products for use over the top of dicamba-tolerant crops in 2017. These products are excellent at controlling palmer amaranth in soybean and cotton fields planted with dicamba tolerant crops. However, soybeans that are not engineered for dicamba tolerance are extremely sensitive to dicamba; these plants may present with distinctive cupped and wrinkled leaves at very low-level exposure to dicamba, although they often show a complete recovery from such symptoms.

The sensationalism in the media around pictures of crop response in the form of cupped leaves has overshadowed the record yield from soybeans in 2017[1]. Based on the comments of individuals, misunderstandings about the chemistry have been amplified in a variety of media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and many regional news outlets. More recently, even C&E News has waded into the controversy, calling these formulations enemy number two with the invasive palmer amaranth as enemy number one[2]. What is missing from these reports is the perspective of a physical chemist with intimate knowledge of the technology.

A closer look at the chemistry behind one of these products, Xtendimax® tells a different story of this critical and innovative technology and how it is designed to be a safely and effectively used according to label instructions.

Click here to read the full story.

[1] United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2018) Quick Stats 2.0. U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Washington DC.

[2] Dealing with Dicamba Drift, C&E News, January 22, 2018

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