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Fall weed control strategies in winter wheat

10/01/2021

Here we are in the later part of September and early October where soybean harvest is well underway. As producers are immediately following the soybean combines with their wheat drills, it may be beneficial to have a weed control strategy for your winter wheat crop sooner than you think.

It’s important to remember why we control weeds in winter wheat in the first place. The main reason and most important one is to minimize yield loss from competition. However, we also need to consider improved harvest efficiency come next summer, as well as maintaining clean straw and minimizing weed seed back into those fields for future seasons. This is an important piece for maintaining a strong resistance management strategy in your operation.

Having a clean start for your winter wheat crop already this fall can be extremely beneficial for setting you up for big yield potential. Tough to control weeds such as Canada fleabane, chickweed and dandelion can effectively be managed already this fall, allowing for minimal competition in your wheat crop.

There are several benefits to applying a herbicide on winter wheat fields this fall:

  • Improved uptake on actively growing winter annuals and perennials this fall (also improved spray coverage now)
  • Fall herbicide application will allow you to time your spring foliar fungicide application closer to that late T2 timing to offer better flag leaf protection
  • Inconsistent overnight temperatures that make spring herbicide applications very challenging to plan, especially when tank-mixing with foliar fungicides
  • Fall herbicides will still allow growers to underseed red clover

Here are a couple herbicide options growers should consider using already this fall:

  1. ERAGON LQ / Merge (Group 14) – Applied pre-plant or pre-emergence to wheat will provide a strong burndown on most broadleaves, especially Canada fleabane and allow for a clean start (glyphosate is typically a tank-mix partner for multiple modes and provides control of existing grass species)
  2. Infinity (Group 6 & 27) or Infinity FX (Group 6,27 & 4) – Applied from the 2-leaf growth stage to when the flag leaf is visible. Provides excellent control on those tougher to control weeds and provides residual activity whether applied in the fall or spring. A very good resistance management tool, allowing growers who may not grow corn to incorporate another effective mode of chemistry such as a Group 27 into their rotation.

If you’re planning on applying a herbicide to your winter wheat fields, it’s always important to scout this fall and prioritize which fields have greater weed pressure.

Always consider the herbicide label before applying to confirm label rates and temperature restrictions. Contact your local AGRIS Crop Specialist for assistance on determining which products may be the best fit for your operation this fall.

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