The Battle with Resistant Weeds: Fall Burn Down

Harvest is in full swing and crops are coming out fast in Western Illinois.  With the long and stressful growing season that last thing that local producers want to think about is next year.  However, the issue of herbicide resistance has proved to be a year around issue that growers need to be concerned about.  In the next couple of weeks the sprayers will be rolling and applying fall residuals or commonly referred to as “fall burn down”.  Fall residuals have proved to be an effective extra step to controlling weeds early in the season.

A fall herbicide application is a good way to control winter annuals because of the strong residual that 2-4D and Dicamba have.  The later half of October is typically when most fall applications will be put down.  Once the crops come out you can technically put on the application but the later that you can get the application the better.  The longer you can wait will allow you to stretch out your residual farther into the growing season for longer control.  On the other hand you want to make sure that you get the application on before temperatures drop below freezing.

Fall Burn Down Check Strip

The picture above is a prime example of how well a fall herbicide application can benefit your weed control.  On the left there was a fall residual laid down and on the right is the check strip.  This picture was taken on May 10th and as you can see the weed control has been effective well in to the growing season.

I was able to interview Alex Ruebush, a local producer and salesman at Crop Production Services, on his opinion about a fall application.  My first question to him was, “What is the best benefit of a fall application?”  Alex replied, “It is the best winter annual program for zero-till.”  I think there is a lot to be said about the control that a fall program offers, and I think progressive farmers will take this point into consideration when they view their options of resistant weed control.  My last question to Alex was, “Do you think more growers will consider a fall program as they continue to struggle with herbicide resistance?”  Alex replied, “Yes, it goes back to the layering residuals approach and controlling weeds before they come up.  Some weeds need to be controlled in the fall and early spring.”

A fall application is by no means a fix all solution to weed resistance, but it is a progressive option to improve weed control.  More farms every year are changing practices such as moving to zero till.  This option as Alex mentioned is highly compatible with a fall burn down program.  As producers search for solutions to improve weed control I think a fall burn down would be a viable option to consider.

I am Caleb Shoemaker, I am a Senior at WIU.  I am majoring in Ag business and I have a double minor in general business and agronomy.  I have worked in Ag retail for three years and completed three internships.  I currently am an operator at Crop Production Services.

Fall Burn Down Project


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