Two studies investigated off-target exposure of soybean to plant growth regulator (PGR) herbicides and determined if simultaneous exposure to PGR herbicides and labeled soybean herbicides increase PGR injury. The PGR herbicides, 2,4-D, clopyralid, and dicamba, as well as dicamba plus the auxin transport inhibitor diflufenzopyr, were applied to glyphosate-resistant soybean at the V3, V7, and R2 soybean growth stages. Two rates were chosen from previous and preliminary research to approximate threshold rates that would cause a yield reduction so as to distinguish differences in sensitivity between growth stages. All four PGR herbicides caused significant soybean injury, height reduction, and yield loss at one or more application rates and growth stages. Relative to other PGR herbicides, dicamba reduced soybean yield at the lowest rate (a potential rate from residues remaining in improperly cleaned application equipment), followed by clopyralid, with 2,4-D requiring the highest rate to reduce soybean yield (a potential rate from a high level of spray drift). Dicamba and dicamba plus diflufenzopyr were applied at equal fractions of labeled use rates for corn to compare them directly at equivalent levels of off-target movement. Dicamba plus diflufenzopyr caused less injury and yield loss than dicamba applied alone. In a second study, the highest labeled soybean use rates of glyphosate, imazethapyr, imazamox, and fomesafen were applied alone and in combination with the highest rate of dicamba used in the first study (1% of a labeled use rate for corn) at the V3 and V7 stages. Dicamba demonstrated synergistic interactions with imazamox, imazethapyr, and fomesafen (but not with glyphosate) to further reduce yield under some circumstances, especially when applied at the V7 stage. Several treatments that included dicamba reduced soybean seed weight when applied at either the V3 or V7 stage and reduced the number of seeds per pod at the V7 stage.
Nomenclature: clopyralid; 2,4-D; dicamba; diflufenzopyr; fomesafen; glyphosate; imazamox; imazethapyr; corn, Zea mays L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr. ‘Pioneer 94B01RR’.