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Can you till and spray before seeding this year?

Read Time: 4 minutes

By Brett Teetaert April 22, 2020

Squeeze in a herbicide application – it takes less time than you think


Many regions experienced a wet harvest last fall, leaving fields rutted and suffering from harvest equipment compaction, not to mention crop left in the field over the winter. Farmers have told us they expect to complete a cultivation pass to smooth their field prior to seeding this and rely on the cultivator as their main method of spring weed control, allowing them to skip a pre-burn herbicide application and save time. 

While it is true that tillage can control small annual weeds and help other weeds germinate to make future control possible, larger weeds and perennial weeds will just get transplanted. Robust species such as Canada thistle, dandelion and large over wintered cleavers can quite easily recover after being buried. Weeds like quackgrass can come back thicker after having their rhizomes chopped up and prepared to reproduce.

Spring tillage can also dry out the soil and result in the loss of valuable seed bed moisture, which is especially important for shallow seeded crops such as canola and is typically recommended when a large amount of residue exists and needs to be buried. Tillage is useful when you need to dry the soil out due to excessive moisture conditions or you need to warm up the soil.  

Manage weeds and save time

While tillage may be a necessary or desired step on your farm, we strongly recommend you also do a pre-seed herbicide application.  Even if – and that’s a big if – you are able to squeeze in one or more tillage passes this spring, there is a lot of work ahead to get ready for seeding. You can alleviate the burden of time with an application of pre-seed glyphosate using an add-in for an additional mode of action to heat up your mix, deal with hard to control overwintered weeds, and even take some of the pressure off your in-crop herbicide, especially if you choose a product with residual control.

A pre-seed application takes less time than you think and could even save you money

Farmers often tell us they sacrifice a pre-seed herbicide application to save time. Most farms are time-strapped in the spring and would simply like to get the seed in the ground as soon as possible. But consider this:

An infographic outlining the time and cost comparisons of spraying before seeding

If you’re not sure what pre-seed option is a fit for your crops’ needs, your timeline, and/or your budget, contact your nearest Cargill location for more information.  We’re here to help.

*Always read and follow label directions.

Brett head shot

Brett Teetaert

Brett is looking forward to using his knowledge on soil fertility and weed management to help find farmers practical solutions. Brett grew up on a mixed family farm near Medora Manitoba, where at an early age he developed a passion for agriculture. Before attending university Brett worked on multiple farms including a 35,000 acre farm in Australia. After graduating from University of Manitoba with a Diploma in Agriculture in 2013, Brett gained a wide range of experience through working as a Sales Agronomist in the southeast and southwest corners of Manitoba, working as a Research Technician out of Melita, as well as running his own family farm. Brett joined Cargill in 2017 as a Market Development Agronomist. He is looking forward to using his knowledge on soil fertility and weed management to help find farmers practical solutions that will work best on their farm and working hands-on in the field. Brett wants to help you make the best decision for you and your crops!