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Pre-seed burndown – Four tips you can use right now

Read Time: 8 minutes

By Simon North April 11, 2019

Do it right and this common practice will always pay for itself

Let’s not mince words. Doing a pre-seed burndown, especially when you’re dealing with big, overwintered weeds is a must.

I am convinced that 100% of the time this practice will pay off. Put another way, I’ve never seen it not pay.

As temperatures increase and we rush toward seeding season, here’s my reminder of four keys to spring weed control:

  1. ALWAYS do a pre-seed burndown.
  2. Use the RIGHT RATE of glyphosate. This is especially important if you’re faced with large perennial weeds. You cannot cut corners here. That means:0.5 Roundup® Equivalent Litre (REL) per acre for small weeds or annual weeds;0.75 REL per acre for medium-size weeds; and1.0+ REL per acre for large perennial weeds.
  3. Always MIX AN ADD-IN with residual. Any weeds that haven’t yet emerged will not be controlled with glyphosate alone, and adding a tank mix partner will help manage herbicide resistance (nearly 1/2 of cleavers and 1/3 of narrow-leaved hawk’s beard are already Group 2 resistant according to the latest data of tested fields.
  4. Be aware that some add-in products are contact herbicides – so make sure you USE ENOUGH WATER to soak weeds. Use more (5-10 gallons per acre) if there is heavy crop residue or dense weed growth. Also wait after a heavy frost for a few days for weeds to recover before application.

Bonus ProTip: If your timeline is compressed, I recommend finding your driest field first, applying your burndown, then seeding it. Proceed the same way on a field-by-field basis so you don’t end up rushing and skipping this very important step on later fields.

Got a more complicated spring weed control challenge? Contact your Cargill representative to find the solution that’s right for you.


Always read and follow the label for any crop protection product. Roundup is a registered trademark of Bayer Group, Monsanto Monsanto Canada, ULC licensee

Simon North

Simon North

This British ex-pat specializes in Canadian in-crop chemistry, herbicides and canola production. Simon joined Cargill in 2014 after managing a large corporate farm in Saskatchewan. Prior to that, he worked for B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture.

“Canola needs the most attention; there is always something to do with it,” says Simon. “It’s the most expensive to grow, but we can also get the most output from it.”

Simon has been following canola breeding and innovation for many years. He first fell in love with agriculture when working on a farm in the U.K. following high school. There, and while completing his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at Harper Adams University near Birmingham, he learned about oilseed rape production.

“It’s interesting to see how it’s evolved and what’s in the pipeline.“