Dicamba Off-Target Injury Continues in 2019 in Nebraska

Suspected off-target dicamba injury to soybean. Cupped leaves are often indicative of dicamba injury. (Photos by Amit Jhala)
Figure 1. Suspected off-target dicamba injury to soybean. Cupped leaves are often indicative of dicamba injury. (Photos by Amit Jhala)

Dicamba Off-Target Injury Continues in 2019 in Nebraska

As the crop season progresses, questions about dicamba off-target injury in soybean, broadleaf crops, and trees are increasing in Nebraska. Nebraska Extension educators and weed management specialists have received a number of complaints.

While dicamba has been available for weed control in grass crops such as corn and sorghum for many years, this was the third year that Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (dicamba-tolerant) soybean and new dicamba-based herbicides (XtendiMax, Engenia, FeXapan, and Tavium) were commercially available in Nebraska.

Table 1. Approximate acreages of dicamba-resistant soybean planted and number of dicamba off-target injury reports received by Nebraska extension and Nebraska Department of Agriculture from 2017 to 2019.
Year Xtend-Soybean
Planted in Nebraska
(million acres)
Number of Complaints
Received by NDAa
Number of Complaints
Received by Nebraska Extension
2017 0.5 95 259
2018 3 106 280
2019 4 NAb 185
   aNDA, Nebraska Department of Agriculture
   bData still being collected

Dicamba is a phenoxy group herbicide that can result in off-target movement through physical drift, volatility, or tank contamination. A number of broadleaf crops and plants are sensitive to dicamba, including non-dicamba tolerant soybean, grapes, tomato, watermelon, pumpkin, and several minor vegetable crops raised in Nebraska.

What should growers do if they suspect dicamba injury in a field?

  • First, it is important to correctly identify dicamba injury symptoms.
  • Scout the field to get an idea of how widespread the injury is. Take photos and notes. Start communication with your neighbors, pesticide applicator, etc.
  • Contact the local extension office in your county. (Input from Extension Educators getting calls from producers is a key and timely resource as this issue develops, thus they are included in the process).
  • Even if you decide NOT to file a complaint, contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) at 402-471-2351. The NDA will not investigate if you don’t want it to, but your report is useful information that NDA can pass on to the US Environmental Protection Agency about occurrence of dicamba off-target injury in Nebraska.

For recommendations on applying dicamba to avoid or reduce off-target injury to sensitive crops, see cropwatch.unl.edu/tags/dicamba.