Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Does Fall Burndown Pay Off?

George Watters
Agronomy Manager
For farmers who adopt minimum- or no-till practices, controlling weeds throughout the fall can be crucial — particularly for winter annual weeds like marestail and perennials such as dandelions. Overwintered marestail, for example, is very difficult to control in the spring.
 
If we are able to harvest early and we have warm, dry weather, we’ll have a wider window of opportunity for fall herbicide applications.
 
Benefits of Fall Weed-control Applications
There are a number of advantages to doing a fall burndown:
  • Smaller weeds: Weeds are typically smaller in the fall, making them easier to control.
  • Weeds are getting ready for winter: During the fall, plants are translocating most of their nutrients to the roots for overwintering. This means more of the herbicide will move down into the roots and provide good control.
  • Less compaction: Drier soils are better suited to sprayer traffic, minimizing compaction.
  • Earlier planting: With more effective control, fields can dry and warm faster in the spring to allow for tillage and earlier planting.
  • Greater efficiency: Equipment works better in clean fields.
  • Less weed competition: Early-season weed competition is reduced to help crops get a good start and encourage uniform stands.
  • Fewer pest havens: Fewer weeds mean fewer egg-laying sites for insects such as spider mites and cutworms, and no alternate host for soybean cyst nematodes.
Spring Application? Possibly.
Don’t forget to manage weeds into next spring as well. In spite of its benefits, fall burndown generally doesn’t eliminate the need for a residual herbicide program in the spring to achieve effective, season-long weed control.
 
For specific weeds like marestail (a big problem in the eastern Corn Belt), you may also need a spring burndown to take care of what germinates in the season’s early weeks. But if you do a fall burndown, you can at least avoid dealing with tough-to-control, overwintered marestail.
 
Contact your local WinField United retailer to learn more about fall burndown options in your area.

Forge Ahead on Late-Planted Corn

Glenn Longabaugh
WinField Agronomist
Has a wet spring put a damper on your corn crop or even made you think about replanting your corn fields? Many farmers are pretty far along with corn planting, but lately some have experienced heavy, flooding rains and are assessing whether or not they’ll have to replant.

It looks like it was cold enough in my area of southern Indiana during our flooding period that some of the corn was not actively respiring, and now appears to be recovering well. There is still the danger of seedling blight, the resulting crown rot as well as downy mildew (crazy top), but the corn crop is looking better every day. Input prices are also falling. Nitrogen, for example, is less expensive than it has been, which makes corn more attractive.

Here are some tips for helping make delayed planting successful.

Don’t replant with significantly earlier-maturing corn.
We do not encourage farmers to plant extremely early hybrids as we get into late planting. Many times, earlier hybrids are not well-suited for heat, and late-planted corn often flowers in some of the harshest conditions of the year. An early hybrid is often a poor option.

Maintain populations.
Some schools of thought believe farmers need to plant at higher populations. But most of the time, planting later with the same population as you would have earlier results in better stands, because of more favorable conditions after planting. With corn, farmers get better emergence or more even emergence when they stick with a reasonable planting rate. So if you plant your corn at, say, 32,000 seeds per acre early, I’d recommend maintaining that population if you need to replant later.

Get a handle on weed control.
Weed control probably gets easier as we get into late planting, as long as you start clean. If you are a conventional tillage farmer and are starting with clean fields, you’re more likely to experience success with a one-pass program in corn. If you’re a no-till farmer, it is absolutely imperative that you confirm your burndown has terminated all weeds. If you don’t start clean, you can never stay clean. Later in the season, those weeds that emerged early are going to be more robust, taller and harder to manage.
 
If you made an early burndown pass, had to delay planting and now have regrowth, you’ll need to do a second burndown application along with your first residual when your fields dry out. 

Locking in Spray Investments

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
Host Joel Wipperfurth and agronomist Mark Glady talk about ensuring the effectiveness of spray applications on this episode of The Deal With Yield®. Hear their tips for which products to add to the spray tank and how to stay ahead of herbicide resistance.
Season 9: Episode 3 – Locking in Spray Investments

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

Managing the RoundUp Ready® Xtend Crop System: Part 1

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField
On this season opener of The Deal With Yield®, host Joel Wipperfurth and guest Ray Pigati, WinField United Crop Protection Technical Marketing Specialist, kick off their in-depth discussion of the RoundUp Ready® Xtend Crop System. Get a look into the rapidly changing approval process of this new technology, like the need for each state to approve the label. Learn how to manage multiple sites of action to prevent herbicide resistance and how variety selection can lead to the specific herbicide you should use.
Season 8: Episode 1 – Managing the RoundUp Ready® Xtend Crop System: Part 1

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

Five Steps to Controlling Corn Rootworm

Ryan Wolf
Agronomy Services Manager
Called the “billion dollar pest” due to its mass destruction of valuable crops, corn rootworm continues to spread rapidly across the Midwest. The problem is compounded in the northern Corn Belt, where there are large populations of northern corn rootworm and the more destructive western corn rootworm is showing some resistance.

As you look at insect challenges you faced last year, I urge you to take preventative measures to control corn rootworm because once corn is planted, postemergence applications cannot stop larvae from feeding on roots.
 
Here are five tips to help control this destructive pest and protect yield potential:
  1. Rotate crops. Plant soybeans when possible to break up corn-on-corn rotations.
  2. Choose trait packages. Corn farmers should choose hybrids that feature two traits for maximum corn rootworm control.
  3. Use full insecticide rates at planting. Many farmers have become accustomed to getting by using half-rates of insecticide. To stand a chance at controlling corn rootworm, make in-furrow insecticide applications using the full rate.
  4. Be proactive. Begin scouting for corn rootworm beetles at tassel and continue through early August. Timely foliar insecticide applications will prevent beetles from laying eggs and reduce populations the following year.
  5. Control volunteer corn. Western corn rootworm is known to lay eggs in soybean fields, posing a threat to corn crops the following year. Removing its food source prevents larvae from maturing and continuing the cycle.
Stay vigilant for signs of corn rootworm throughout the upcoming growing season, and work with your local agronomist to help guide pest control decisions.

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