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Soybean response to dicamba in irrigation water under controlled environmental conditions

  • Cammy D. Willett (a1), Erin M. Grantz (a2), Jung Ae Lee (a3), Matthew N. Thompson (a4) and Jason K. Norsworthy (a5)...


While much research has focused on crop damage following foliar exposure to auxin herbicides, reports documenting the risk posed by exposure via root uptake of irrigation water are lacking. Herbicide residues circulated in tailwater recovery systems may pose threats of cross-crop impacts to nonresistant cultivars with known sensitivity to auxins. An auxin-susceptible soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] cultivar was grown in a controlled growth chamber environment and exposed to dicamba dissolved in irrigation water applied to the soil surface, simulating furrow irrigation. Five herbicide treatment concentrations, ranging from 0.05 to 5.0 mg L−1 and encompassing estimated field doses of 3.1 to 310g ha−1, were applied to the soil of potted soybean plants at V3/V4 or R1 growth stages. Plant injury (0% to 100%), dry mass, height, number of pods, and number of pod-bearing nodes were measured. Kruskal-Wallis and logistic regression analyses were performed to determine treatment differences and examine dose effects. Yield losses were projected using (1) 14 d after treatment plant injury assessments based on injury–yield relationships described for foliar exposures and (2) pod counts. Dicamba concentration was the main significant factor affecting all growth response metrics, and growth stage was a significant explanatory variable only for the height response metric. A nonlinear response to dicamba dose was observed, with the threshold response dose required to affect 50% of plants being three times greater for 40% crop injury compared with 20% injury. Yield projections derived from plant response to root uptake compared with foliar exposure indicate that soybean may express both magnitude of injury and specific symptomology differently when exposure occurs via root uptake. Drift exposure–based models may be incompatible to predict soybean yield loss when injury results from irrigation. Data are needed to develop correlations for predicting yield losses based on field-scale exposure to dicamba in irrigation water, as well as assessment of real-world concentrations of herbicide residues in tailwater recovery systems.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Cammy D. Willett, Email:


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