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Suspect Off-Target Dicamba?

Chemistry and Symptoms

Dicamba has long been known to drift onto fields, and recent industry advancements have made it less likely for the chemical to evaporate into the air (also called volatilization). However, less likely does not mean risk-free. Broadleaf plants such as soybeans are extremely sensitive to damage from dicamba. For example, a dicamba application as low as 1/500 of the recommended rate damages soybeans.

Dicamba is classified as a growth regulator (2,4-D is another example). These chemicals cause extra growth in the plant that eventually causes death. Look for stunted plants with cupped leaves and spindly stems/petioles.

If Damage is Suspected

As soon as you suspect dicamba damage, please report it to the MDA’s Pesticide Misuse Complaint line at 651-201-6333. You have a 45-day window from when you first suspect damage. If the MDA suspects damage, an inspector will conduct an investigation and determine if off-target dicamba was responsible for the yield damage. They will also check to see if any state pesticide laws were broken by the applicator. If it is determined you have dicamba damage, please consider reporting to the MDA’s Dicamba Damage Survey, this will help the state assess the status of this issue. The MDA does not have the authority to mediate conflicts or dictate liability payments.

You can think of the MDA as a policeman who arrives at a fender bender between two drivers, they may write a traffic ticket and assign blame, but the insurance companies pay for the damage to the vehicles.

Many producers want to settle issues regarding crop damage personally. However, if negotiations break down and the MDA’s report window is missed, your insurance company will have less evidence it can use when negotiating.

More Information


Shane Bugeja
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems
(507) 304-4325
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