Establish solid strategy for fall-applied herbicides

Farm Forum

INDIANAPOLIS — Growers need a solid strategy to thwart yield-robbing weeds after they plant winter wheat this season.

An effective fall weed control program includes a clean seedbed, a comprehensive scouting plan and timely herbicide application.

Much of the yield potential of wheat is determined in the first two months of growth, says Abe Smith, market development specialist, Dow AgroSciences. A clean seedbed allows growers to manage weeds early in the season, before they compete with the crop.

“Once wheat is in the ground, you have to buy as much time as possible, which can be done with the early elimination of weed pressure,” Smith says.

Every field is unique. Scout for weeds year-round to help target problematic species — a necessary step in weed management.

“Cool-season grasses and broadleaf weeds, such as mustard species, are common threats to winter wheat,” Smith says. “These weeds are managed differently, which means that proper identification is important for successful control.”

After selecting a herbicide program, proper timing is key to weed control. In general, the ideal time for herbicide application is in the two- to three-leaf weed stage, about 45 days after planting for most herbicides, including PowerFlex HL herbicide. Before making an application, make sure the winter wheat crop is past the three-leaf stage of growth to ensure a safe and effective application.

“The quicker you get on weeds, the easier the crop breaks away from competitive pressure,” Smith says. “We can use a lot of products outside of that application window, but it becomes more of an aesthetic control. By then, you’ve already lost the fight.”

PowerFlex HL herbicide is an ideal tool in winter wheat to control grasses and broadleaf weeds, including cheatgrass and mustard species. PowerFlex HL has a wide application window and can be applied postemergence in the fall or spring, from the three-leaf to jointing stage.

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