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Burndown Options for a Wet Spring

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It is mid-April and most Indiana farmers have not had the chance to burndown weeds or cover crops and turn over much soil. Beck’s Hybrids has some recommendations on burndown options for this spring.

Burndown of fall annuals was not an option after harvest, and wet conditions have kept many growers out of the field this spring. As a result weeds, especially Mare’s Tail, which overwinters if not killed, is starting to bolt with the wet conditions this spring.

When it comes to a spring burndown, Joe Bolte, with Beck’s Hybrids Practical Farm Research program, said there really only two options growers have when trying to burndown weeds this spring. “If you feel you are not going to plant for a while you can go with a burndown that has some residual. I would recommend products like Sharpen and metrobusen. They can knock back your weeds and cover crops and keep your fields clean until planting,” he stated. “If you think you will be planting sooner, then you need to use a burndown that has plant back provisions, something like Gramoxone.” Bolte believes that putting your burndown first before you come back with a herbicide program is a better option, “If you have a heavy carpet of weeds then your pre-plant program will not come in contact with the soil surface and could impact the effectiveness of the product.”

Bolte reminded growers that, when it comes to controlling weeds, mixing those modes of action is critical. “This is why I do not recommend a product like Glyphosate as a spring burndown,” he said. “We use this during the growing season, so we should use a different mode of action in the spring to avoid weed resistance.” He said getting your burndown started as soon as possible is preferable, but warned not to rush into a field that is not ready to support equipment.