Farmers ask for tighter regulations on dicamba

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Farmers in northeast Arkansas are asking for tighter regulations on dicamba.

Dicamba is a strong chemical that can effectively and efficiently kill weeds, but now it’s taking out more than just weeds.

The chemical can evaporate at a certain temperature, become airborne, travel to farmers in the area, and attach to their crops.

Frank Brinkley is a farmer in Lawrence County that mainly harvests rice and soybeans.

While rice isn’t primarily affected, his soybeans are non-dicamba seeds and have taken a hit.

He says the plants have not grown as large as they have in the past due to the chemical.

It can cause leaves on the soybean plants to wilt.

Brinkley says he was lucky enough that most of his crop has recovered.

“Not only does it affect the height, the canopy, which when the crop doesn’t canopy, you have more weed pressure, so you have to spray more, you have insects, you have to spray for insects. It also affects the growth and reproductive phases and reduces your yield.”

When dicamba catches the plant in an early stage, it can be detrimental, Brinkley said.

“What I understand is that when it hit in the R1 and R2 stage, you’re looking at a ten percent yield loss. In 70 bushels of beans, that’s seven bushels [affected]”.

He says he plans to address the state plant board regarding what dicamba can do to crops, but also what it could do to the environment.

While Brinkley is concerned about his farm, he also says there are other things that this could hurt.

“I’m more concerned about what it’s going do to my health in the long term, what it’s going to do to my son’s health that is out here with me. What it’s going to do to people’s gardens who are dependent on it to feed their family or those who want to garden.”

Brinkley said he wants farmers’ concerns to be heard and for the board to make a beneficial decision for everyone.

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