An expert take: fall burndown

An Expert Take

Research Triangle Park, NC, August 14, 2017

With summer on its last legs, wheat growers across the country are harvesting their winter wheat and preparing their fields for planting, including making burndown applications. It’s a process that is integral to the success of the next harvest.

Rand Merchant, a BASF technical service representative, highlighted the most important things for growers to consider when making burndown applications, as well as the importance of burndown itself.

“Making a fall burndown application allows growers to control late-emerging summer annuals and to get in front of winter broadleaf annuals – key components of a weed management system,” said Merchant.

Merchant also focused on the green bridge, weeds and plants that create a continuum in a field, allowing pathogens to carry crop to crop if not completely eradicated before planting. To ensure this doesn’t occur, he recommends at least two weeks of no green growth before planting the next crop.

“As for general field preparation, if there are any weeds present when planting begins, it is already a losing battle,” said Merchant.

Other burndown tips from Merchant

  • Know the weeds present and choose your herbicide accordingly. BASF’s Sharpen® herbicide has been proven to work quickly and has excellent residual control.
  • Use multiple herbicide modes-of-action in the same application to provide the best weed control, and to help prevent herbicide resistance. Ideally, growers should use a combination of post emergence herbicides and soil residual herbicides to manage later emerging weeds.
  • The easiest time to control a weed is when it’s in the soil, using a residual herbicide. The second easiest time to control a weed is when it’s small, or less than three inches.
  • Use higher carrier volumes to penetrate crop residue that remains after harvest.
  • If allowed, take advantage of higher rates and oil-based adjuvants for best control, since no crop is present.
  • Follow label directions and be mindful of rotation intervals.
  • While shorter days and cooler nights may trigger fall burndown, it is truly a year-round process that can yield success.
  • “Growers should use an effective burndown application in the fall, as well as a pre-plant application in the spring for best weed control and herbicide resistance management,” said Merchant. “It’s all about starting clean, and staying clean.”

To learn more, visit or contact your local BASF representative.

Always read and follow label directions.

Sharpen is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2017 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved. APN 17-CB-0004


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