In recent years, there has been increased use of dicamba due to the introduction of dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean in the United States. Therefore, there is a potential increase in off-target movement of dicamba and injury to sensitive crops. Flue-cured tobacco is extremely sensitive to auxin herbicides, particularly dicamba. In addition to yield loss, residue from drift or equipment contamination can have severe repercussions for the marketability of the crop. Studies were conducted in 2016, 2017, and 2018 in North Carolina to evaluate spray-tank cleanout efficiency of dicamba using various cleaning procedures. No difference in dicamba recovery was observed regardless of dicamba formulation and cleaning agent. Dicamba residue decreased with the number of rinses. There was no difference in dicamba residue recovered from the third rinse compared with residue from the tank after being refilled for subsequent tank use. Recovery ranged from 2% to 19% of the original concentration rate among the three rinses. Field studies were also conducted in 2018 to evaluate flue-cured tobacco response to reduced rates of dicamba ranging, from 1/5 to 1/10,000 of a labeled rate. Injury and yield reductions varied by environment and application timing. When exposed to 1/500 of a labeled rate at 7 and 11 wk after transplanting, tobacco injury ranged from 39% to 53% and 10% to 16% 24 days after application, respectively. The maximum yield reduction was 62%, with a 55% reduction in value when exposed to 112 g ha–1 of dicamba. Correlations showed significant relationships between crop injury assessment and yield and value reductions, with Pearson values ranging from 0.24 to 0.63. These data can provide guidance to growers and stakeholders and emphasize the need for diligent stewardship when using dicamba technology.
Nomenclature: Dicamba; cotton; Gossypium hirsutum L.; flue-cured tobacco; Nicotiana tabacum L.; soybean; Glycine max (L.) Merr.