Agronomy •  2023-08-29

How to set your field up for success with fall burndown

Something went wrong. Please try again later...
Giant Ragweed in corn field during harvest

A fall burndown application is your chance to set your spring seedbeds up for success. The challenge with planning a fall herbicide is to find an application window. Depending on weather, openings for a fall weed control pass can be timed after wheat harvest in late summer or after edible bean or soybean harvest, before planting winter wheat. 

Start spring with a clean slate

Weeds are the main target, but a fall herbicide application can also take care of volunteer crops too. With more effective overall fall weed control, spring fields can dry and warm faster in the spring, allowing for improved tillage conditions and even earlier planting.

Controlling fall annual and perennial weeds can help reduce the soil weed seed bank, providing a cleaner seedbed for your crop next spring. Reducing early season weed competition can also help crop emergence and establish uniform stands, setting your crop up for success.

Put your herbicide to work

A post-harvest herbicide application can result in better activity out of your product investment. Waiting until spring to apply can require higher rates and the results may not be as favourable. A fall burndown means higher efficacy at a lower cost.

Weeds are smaller in the fall, making them easier to control and allowing you to be more efficient with your inputs. Fall is the ideal time to target perennial weeds that are getting ready for winter too, especially weeds with tap roots, like dandelions. During the fall, weeds are focusing most of their nutrients below ground, establishing themselves in the soil to overwinter. This makes for the ideal opportunity for herbicides to move down into the roots and provide greater control.

There are plenty of fall weed control options to choose from, especially because a burndown application isn’t focused on any residual chemicals (save those for early spring weed control). Consider starting with 2,4-D, then add in one other chemical like glyphosate. Enlist™ Duo also provides an option for 2,4-D choline + glyphosate in a convenient premix. For more information or recommendations on fall burndown products for your fields, consult your trusted agronomist, retailer, or local Corteva Agriscience™ Territory Manager for advice.

Cover crop considerations

Cover crops are also an effective weed control option and provide countless benefits to soil health. A burndown application before seeding a cover crop (using glyphosate and not a residual herbicide) can help give your winter crop its best start.