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Update from the Field: Spray Your Wheat, Kill Your Weeds

Posted by Dave Dyson, Agronomist on April 18, 2019

The post may reference products and/or services only available to our Retail Farm Center customers. For more information contact your Territory Manager at The Andersons.

As the soil temperatures start to rise, the wheat crop is coming out of dormancy and will start reaching for the sky. This spring, however, we are seeing reduced stands. This is due to the crop’s delayed emergence last fall following a late harvest of the previous crop. A reduction in stand not only reduces yield, but it can also allow invasive weeds to gain a foothold in our crop, robbing vital nutrients and sunlight from the wheat. Applying a residual herbicide, which is both safe for the crop and effective on controlling specific weeds, can help maximize your yield.

The least expensive option for controlling broadleaf leaves in wheat is 2,4-D, a growth regulator in the phenoxy chemical family. The window for a safe 2,4-D application is narrow. My recommendation is that 2,4-D should not be applied to wheat until tillering is done in the spring. Application of this herbicide prior to tillering hinders the tillering process, causes general stunting, and can result in significant yield loss. You must stop applying 2,4-D before the wheat enters Feekes 10, commonly known as the “boot” stage (figure 1). 2,4-D does not control chickweed, so if you have a carpet of this nasty weed, you’ll need to look at another product.

Figure 1: This graphic from Oklahoma State University shows the different stages in the Feekes Scale.

Huskie® herbicide, by Bayer Crop Science, contains a mixture of active ingredients which inhibit photosynthesis and the HPPD enzyme systems, which are members of group 6 and 27 in susceptible plants. Huskie herbicide may be an effective tool in the management of weed populations containing resistance to ALS (acetolactate synthase), phenoxy, or glyphosate herbicide modes of action. This product mixes easily with fertilizer and insecticides. Huskie herbicide is a long-lasting residual herbicide, which can be a drawback as much as a benefit. The rotational restrictions for planting soybeans is four months, effectively eliminating this herbicide as a viable option if you want to “double crop” soybeans after wheat. Huskie herbicide has a wide application window and can be applied between Feekes 1 and up to flag leaf emergence.

Harmony® Extra, by FMC, controls weeds susceptible to ALS Inhibitor herbicides. This product mixes well with a wide range of fertilizers and insecticides. Harmony Extra has one of the widest application windows for wheat. You can apply Harmony Extra before wheat emerges, then from Feekes 2 until flag leaf is visible. This product is one of the very few herbicides that effectively controls wild garlic. The rotational restrictions of Harmony Extra are seven days for soybeans and 14 days for corn. There are no worries of herbicide carryover if planting a ”double crop” after the wheat crop.

In conclusion, the wheat crop this year is hurting, to say the least, so keeping the field clean of invasive weeds will help boost the crop growth. In addition, adding a safe and effective foliar fertilizer like OverPass® CF (figure 2) at a rate of 2 gal/ac, can increase the time of crop canopy. A healthy crop canopy is your secondary weed control.

Figure 2: An application of 2 gal/ac of Overpass CF will give you a nice load of slow release nitrogen, potassium, and sulfur.



Please complete the form, and we’ll get you in touch with your Territory Manager from The Andersons. 

David Dyson

Dave Dyson is a regional agronomist for The Andersons’ Farm Centers which are located throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He is an Indiana native and grew up on a dairy farm in Miami County. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Crop & Soil Science, Dave has a deep knowledge of various agronomic topics and is committed to helping growers improve their crops. If you have any questions, Dave can be reached at david_dyson@andersonsinc.com


© 2019 The Andersons, Inc. All rights reserved. The Andersons logo, PureGrade, and OverPass are registered trademarks of The Andersons, Inc. Huskie is a registered trademark of Bayer Crop Science. Harmony is a registered trademark of FMC.

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