The U.S. EPA directed states to develop training guidelines for dicamba applications in 2018, including requiring training certification. How will the new guidelines affect Illinois farmers? Also this week: a warm fall means holding off on nitrogen applications to farm fields, a University of Illinois agronomist advises. For these and more farm and rural headlines for the week, please read on …
EPA: States must enforce dicamba label
BLOOMINGTON — Though new EPA regulations for in-season use of dicamba-based herbicides will be allowed by only trained, certified applicators in 2018, thanks to a proactive training approach in Illinois many farmers are already certified. This is according to Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA). Payne said the federal EPA called state departments of agriculture, including the Illinois Department of Agriculture, on Oct. 19 to go over their stricter 2018 regulations and labeling guidelines for dicamba. The herbicide has been named in thousands of complaints of crop damage or loss to non-GE crops across the corn and cotton belts allegedly caused by spray drift this year.
“We have a lot of farmers and commercial applicators that are already certified. For us in Illinois, I don’t think the EPA’s new ‘restricted use’ status is going to affect as many people. We have about 2,000 commercial applicators and about 10,000 operators that drive the spray rigs. In all, we already have about 15,000 to 18,000 that won’t have to get licensed to use or sell this product,” Payne said. “Others will have to go through an approved training course based on the new label to apply dicamba to soybeans in 2018. It’s up to the states to decide how to provide that training.”
Monsanto, DuPont and BASF — the three companies marketing dicamba products for in-season use on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton — are busy working to provide new labels and application guidelines that will be available to retailers and agriculture groups before the end of the year, Payne said. Updated information on the EPA’s new dicamba regulations, along with training certification opportunities for farmers, will be available on the IFCA website, www.ifca.com, she added.
Nafziger: Nov. 1 N apps not a sure thing
URBANA — With harvest in many farmers’ rearview mirrors, thoughts turn toward the traditional Nov. 1 threshold for safe application of nitrogen fertilizers to crop fields. But that may not be an advisable date to consider beginning fall spraying this particular year, advises Emerson Nafziger, agronomist for the University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences. Air temperatures in the 70s last week and over the weekend were forecast to cool into the 50s in much of Illinois this week, but are predicted to be on the rise again next week.
“We’re already past the average first frost date for central and northern Illinois, and even with more seasonal temperatures coming the last week of October, it doesn’t look like ammonia applied now will be as safe from nitrification and possible loss as will ammonia applied in November,” Nafziger said in an article “Timing Fall Nitrogen,” published in the U of I Bulletin Oct. 19. “Delaying application moves us closer to having soil temperatures low enough to be safe for nitrogen.”
As average fall temperatures in Illinois continue their yearly upward trend, waiting until Nov. 1 does not assure low soil temperatures as consistently as in the past, Nafziger warns farmers. “Patience in waiting another ten days will likely be rewarded, even if — as is often the case when doing the right thing — the reward isn’t very visible,” he said.
Illinois Farm Fact:
In the past two years, soil temperatures have risen above 50 degrees at least once between November and February. (Emerson Nafziger/ University of Illinois)
Illinois drought conditions improve; La Niña coming?
URBANA — Mid-October rains improved the drought impact in northern Illinois, with smaller improvements noted in central and southern Illinois, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Areas considered in moderate drought were reduced to isolated pockets, with more rain expected last week in central and southern regions.
In addition, the National Weather Service (NWS) released their latest outlooks, which included a prediction of increased chances for above-normal temperatures in Illinois from November through January. With many farmers wondering if the U.S. will be under La Niña or El Niño weather situations this fall and winter, the answer is neither — so far. Currently, the U.S. is in an ENSO-neutral situation, explained Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist, in his weekly weather blog.
“However, La Niña conditions have a 55 to 65 percent chance of appearing sometime in the late fall-early winter, according to the NWS. So far, it is expected to be a fairly mild event and may not have much impact on Illinois,” Angel said, adding that December through February could be wetter than normal in the state due to a La Niña pattern.
Illinois Pork seeks future leaders, state ambassador
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is continuing its excellent tradition of building the pork industry through focusing on youth by offering a young individual in the swine industry to represent the organization and the industry during the upcoming year as its 2018 state ambassador. The student will hold the title for the entire calendar year, while working from the Springfield IPPA office as a summer intern.
Main duties include managing the birthing center at the Illinois State Fair, attending Summer Ag Institutes, and completing a summer project. A $4,500 scholarship will be awarded after completion. Student applications are available on the IPPA website (www.ilpork.com).
In addition, IPPA is recruiting for its inaugural “Future Leaders of Illinois Pork” program. This program is offered to those with an active interest in the pork industry between the ages of 25 and 40, and includes four meetings in 2018 and early 2019. The meetings will focus on regulations, processing, retail marketing and farmer interaction. Address your questions about both programs to IPPA communications director Jenny Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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