48th TWC, Tob. Work. Conf., 2018, abstr. 82

Making the case for diligent, proactive herbicide stewardship

University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN USA

Due to the sensitivity of tobacco and many other high value crops to off-target auxinic herbicides, we began a comprehensive educational program in 2011 that stresses the importance of proper stewardship with the use of pasture herbicides. Our goals were to reduce the occurrence and impact of off-target damage to tobacco and other sensitive, high value crops; and to create educational materials and other tools to help with the diagnosis of suspected cases of off-target damage. The initial funding was obtained via grants for 2 years from Philip Morris International. Later, additional funding was obtained from Altria Client Services, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Crop Protection, and Monsanto. We focused on four crops (tobacco, cotton, tomato and grape) and five herbicides (2,4-D, dicamba, aminopyralid, aminocyclopyrachlor and picloram) for the creation of educational materials and diagnostic tools. These include still images, time lapse videos and fact sheets, and we made them available through our initial website, herbicidestewardship.utk.edu; it became accessible in 2014. In 2015 the website was redesigned in an effort to make it more attractive and user friendly, and the address was changed to herbicidestewardship.com. In 2016 and again in 2017, severe problems with dicamba drift occurred in the Midsouth on numerous sensitive crops (including tobacco) as a result of in-crop applications of the herbicide in dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean varieties. We made the decision in 2017 to completely reconstruct and broaden our website to include additional information directly addressing stewardship of the new dicamba and 2,4-D tolerant crop technology. The new version of the website will be available in early 2018. Use of our website has steadily increased since its inception. The website has been visited over 8000 times since it was launched. Visits came from The United States, China, Japan, Germany, Canada, The United Kingdom, India and Brazil. (Reprinted printed with permission)