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Tell us about timing

A couple of wet springs have Steve and Jason Oman, Findlay, Ohio, interested in trying fall burndown ahead of their no-till soybeans. The Omans farm about 2,300 acres and are interested in spreading their workload. They also figure they'll have a better chance of controlling dandelions with a fall application but are somewhat concerned about going back to residual herbicides.

Steve was looking for information about the best timing of the fall burndowns when he posed a question in the Crop Scouting discussion group of Agriculture Online(tm).

While Crop Scouting participants offered their best advice (see sidebar at the bottom of this page), we wanted to find out what weed scientists advised. Herbicide choice is the first factor that influences timing for fall burndowns. If you go with a nonresidual product such as glyphosate plus 2,4-D or Gramoxone plus 2,4-D, you want to wait as long as you can.

"The timing is probably trickier because you want to make sure you get most of those winter annuals emerged," says Christy Sprague, former Extension weed scientist at the University of Illinois who recently moved to Michigan State University. "If you apply those too early, you reduce what you have out there, and youÕre not going to control weeds that come up later. Timing is not as flexible as with herbicides that have residual activity."

A couple of wet springs have Steve and Jason Oman, Findlay, Ohio, interested in trying fall burndown ahead of their no-till soybeans. The Omans farm about 2,300 acres and are interested in spreading their workload. They also figure they'll have a better chance of controlling dandelions with a fall application but are somewhat concerned about going back to residual herbicides.

A lot of research has shown that you get the most effective control of winter annuals by waiting until soil temperatures are at 50°F. or on the decline because that would limit the amount of new germination you would get that fall, says Bryan Young, weed scientist at Southern Illinois University. In southern Illinois, Young says, winter annuals typically keep emerging until about Thanksgiving.

When you pull the trigger on these residual-based applications depends on what you're after. If you are only concerned about controlling the winter annuals, you can apply a residual product most anytime after harvest and still control winter annuals that germinate through the end of the year, Young says.

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