• Agronomic Insights, WUC - Insights
  • Sep 24, 2021

The importance of fall burn-off

Fall burn-off
As farmers across Western Canada are well into harvest or are wrapping up the 2021 season, it’s time to look at what’s still out in the fields. While they are empty from harvest, weeds are still lingering and can cause problems in the spring for farmers.

“It's important to have a good clean base to start with as we turn the calendar over,” says Tanner Stensrud, sales agronomist with AgroPlus in Foremost, Alta. “If we've got a mess of kochia, then when we go to put a pre-emergence down there without doing some type of post-harvest kill, those pre-emergence treatments aren't going perform as well the following spring.”

Doing a fall burn-off allows farmers to manage perennial weeds such as dandelion and Canada thistle, says Stensrud.

“It gives us an opportunity to manage those weeds as they are translocating nutrients down to the roots. It gives the herbicide the chance to get deep into the roots, which kills the plants from the roots up, rather than just burn the tops off,” he explains.

Fall burn-off can also help get a jump on winter annuals such as stinkweed and hawks-beard, plus it helps clean up any problem areas in the field from the growing season.

“Whether weeds come through after we applied our in-crop herbicides or there were misses or windy days, there always seems to be something happening. Winter annuals also germinate late in the year. And once they overwinter, they become more difficult to control the following year," says Stensrud.
Since most of Western Canada experienced a drier than normal year, it’s also important to control weeds in the fall so they don’t take away from the moisture in the soil, Stensrud explains.

“Controlling the weeds gives us a chance to protect what little moisture is there. We don't have much to play with, so if the weeds are using it up, then obviously there's less for next spring,” he says.

“We're also facing a lot of regrowth on our straight cut canola varieties. So, with those, they'll regrow to the point where it makes it almost impossible to get through next spring if farmers didn't do anything about it. So, fall burn-off completely stops the regrowth process on the canola that's been cut off once already.”

When it comes to what to actually use on the weeds, Stensrud says he has farmers come in and ask what will kill certain weeds and what restrictions, if any, there will be for what crop can be grown next year.

“We're also a high pulse and canola area. So, you have to be selective in which fall products you chose as not everything is registered for use in the fall prior to seeding those crops,” he explains.

Once they figure out the plan, then a farmer can get some recommendations, which most often means mixing glyphosate with another herbicide product.

If you are looking for a glyphosate product, Stonewall® 540 from WinField United is a great choice. Of course, it is always important to think about tank mixing multiple modes of actions, so make sure to talk to your agronomist about what to include in the tank.

It is important to also note your water quality while considering fall burn-off. Using Crimson® NG from WinField United can help you get the most out of what’s in your spray tank. Crimson NG offers exceptional water conditioning, even in tough hard-water situations. To get more details on these products, you can visit your nearest Ag Retailer.

In the end, it comes down to what works for each farmer and helping them have a clean field to start things off right in the spring.

“It's nice to have clean field so we don't have to fight it and pour more money into it, when we could have maybe saved some money if we would have just done a fall burn,” says Stensrud.

Featuring: Tanner Stensrud from AgroPlus
Tanner Stensrud

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