Preparing for Spring 2020 Burndown

March 16, 2020

Dale Longwell, Certified Crop Advisor & Seed Specialist

As we adjust to day light savings time and the days are warmer, its time to focus on our burndown programs.

We always want to wait for at least three nighttime temps in the 50’s, before we start up the sprayer. We need to wait for the weeds to “wake-up” and start to actively grow. As we remember the trials of last spring, we need to be ready to go as soon as field conditions give us the opportunity to get the work done.

One quick note: on wheat top dress, don’t worry if you haven’t been able to get nitrogen on your wheat, wait for conditions to be right before making tracks just to get nitrogen on. I have put N on wheat when it was 12 inches tall before and it comes back and yields great. Most growers are putting a good fall fertilizer program on and this should sustain the wheat until you can get the top dress nitrogen on.

Back to the burndown program… When I think about residual programs, I mostly think about soybeans. Most corn programs have plenty of residuals and multiple modes of actions. That said, I like to start off with Roundup at 16-22 oz rate. I have had some farmers tell me they are using liberty instead, and with the generics being a cheaper form this could be an option, if you feel you have roundup resistant weeds or the roundup isn’t working.

The next thing I recommend is 2-4D at 1 pt, even though there is a 7 -10-day planting restriction keep the 2-4D in the tank. With the Enlist soybean system, the waiting can be eliminated. If you have selected the Xtend platform for your farm this year, the 2-4D could be substituted with dicamba and you would not have to wait the 7 -10 days and still have good weed control and residual.

This brings me to the next tank mix product, and that is residuals… These are numerous, so I will not name individual names. Depending on your weed pressure, your supplier’s preferences and their relationship with the chemical companies, these can vary. Most importantly though is to use a residual and use the right rate. Just remember, you are starting your whole season’s weed battle right now. Knock them down and keep them down… come August, you will be happier. Also, I like to add some metribuzin as well. It is fairly cheap, and it is like atrazine in your corn program.

Finally, we come to adjuvant load. This also depends on the chemicals selected. Most start with AMS. This needs to be added before the chemicals, to neutralize the water.  Then add your chemicals, and finally your surfactants. These help the chemicals to stick to the weed leaves and do their job.

Some programs include a drift adjuvant, and this is not bad. If the burndown dollars are getting squeezed, this is one place to save a few bucks.

I have had conversations with growers and retailers alike, and I have had more than once the question of “Since I’m using Enlist soybeans this year, how cheap can I do my burndown?”.  My comment to this is: you know better and you need to keep the burndown strong. Like I said before, this is starting your whole seasons weed control fight. Knock them down and keep them down!!

Good luck and be safe this spring!