Corn School: Think weed control when planting into winter wheat and alfalfa

A tough fall, winterkill, and a cool, wet spring are adding up to a condensed and busy herbicide application window for growers across Ontario.One of the first challenges is how to manage best all the abandoned winter wheat acres that are likely to be planted as corn or soybeans.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Corn School, BASF technical development manager Rob Miller offers weed control advice for growers planting corn into wheat and winterkilled alfalfa fields. He also has some tips on how to make your tillage most effective, and why it’s essential to do those herbicide burndowns.

When it comes to planting into winter wheat, Miller says the number one rule to follow is to ensure you have multiple modes of effective action in the spray tank. He adds that wheat is generally very easy to kill with glyphosate, but chances are these fields will have some problem weeds such as glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane — especially in areas that missed a fall burndown.

Miller also wants growers to be aware of rules for using dicamba in wheat fields. He says dicamba is safe and effective for pre-emerge and post-emerge application in corn, but it should not be used pre-plant. “The planter can actually incorporate that dicamba in the root zone and increase the potential of injury.” (Story continues after the video.)

When it comes to tillage, growers should aim to get a herbicide application down three days before a tillage pass, says Miller. “It’s important to get good activity on those weeds,” he adds.

As May slips away and time gets tight, growers face mounting pressure to put the crop in the ground, and that can mean burndowns are compromised. But if you have glyphosate-resistant weeds, don’t skimp on your burndown, says Miller. “It’s easier to control these weeds prior to planting and crop emergence — we have a lot more options — versus when the crop emerges, and the weeds get bigger and more difficult to control.”

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