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Can you afford not to do a pre-seed herbicide application?

Read Time: 7 minutes

By the Cargill team March 03, 2022

The need for a pre-seed weed control add-in is essential for a great start to the year. 


Spring is right around the corner and that makes everyone – us included – anxious to get a crop in the ground. Due to global supply issues, glyphosate availability might be a little tighter than we’re used to and the importance of a pre-seed add-in is even more prevalent to ensure successful, early season, weed control, and great crop establishment. 

Control weeds early to give your crop a strong start

We recommend a pre-seed herbicide application using a mix of products with multiple modes of action. This timing is key to controlling weeds when they’re small, preventing them from robbing your crop of precious moisture and nutrients and ultimately preventing yield loss.  

The bonus is that you reduce the chance that weeds will outgrow staging restrictions for in-crop herbicides and you’ll increase the efficacy of your in-crop applications.

Give yourself in-crop spray timing flexibility

Doing a pre-seed burn also reduces your reliance on cooperative weather for in-crop spraying, when weather delays can allow weeds to get really competitive. Many products also have strict application windows and are not effective on large weeds.

Use multiple modes of action for better weed control

Canada is third in the world for cases of herbicide resistance. Because of this, farmers in Canada should be planning their herbicide application in order to manage resistance. Options are more limited in-crop and a pre-burn provides the ideal opportunity to use many different herbicide groups and can be a cost-effective tool against resistance. Ultimately, you’ll get better control of big, overwintered weeds by hitting them with multiple modes of action before they’re far more difficult or very expensive to control in-crop.

For example, you could target wild buckwheat in Roundup Ready® canola by using a pre-seed burn that contains bromoxynil, like CONQUER® II, because in-crop glyphosate is not as effective on that weed. This will also help control canola volunteers, which are becoming more troublesome as canola rotations tighten. Canola volunteers not only compete with the seeded crop, but they also host pests. The seed from volunteers may also contaminate specialty canola crops.

Get the benefits of residual activity

Many pre-seed products shine based on their residual activity. Even if there are very few or no weeds present at the time of application, many have weeks of activity on emerging, controlling, or suppressing weeds during crop emergence and during the critical weed-free period where competition can be a big yield robber.

The active ingredient can be applied safely to the soil early on and heat up, making in-crop control so much easier. For example, Chickweed is often best controlled through residual products.

As a bonus, residual products can also give timing flexibility. Some pre-seed products, like Command® 360 ME, Authority® Supreme, Fierce®, and Valtera™, can be applied early when soil is still too cold for seeding activities. This will help you get a jump on weed germination/emergence. 

Products like Korrex™ II, Heat® LQ, Blackhawk®, and Certitude® will target emerged weeds and allow you successful weed control without requiring higher rates of glyphosate.

Of all the operations you do on your farm this season, a pre-seed burn-off that incorporates multiple modes of action is one of the best investments you can make. Spice up your glyphosate and achieve superior, cost-effective weed control that will ensure that your crop gets off to a great start.

Always read and follow label directions.

Command® and Authority® are registered trademarks of FMC Corporation or Affiliate. Fierce® is a registered trademark of Valent U.S.A. LLC. Nufarm Agriculture Inc. is a distributor of Valent products in Canada. Valtera®, Conquer®, and Blackhawk® are registered trademarks of Nufarm Agriculture Inc. Nufarm Agriculture Inc. is a distributor of Valent products in Canada. Korrex™ is a trademark of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Heat® and Certitude® are registered trademarks of BASF Corporation. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Bayer Crop Science LLC.