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Power Up Your Pre-Seed Burn-Off

A pre-seed application of glyphosate is now standard practice for growers who direct seed. Research has confirmed this practice pays big dividends. Data gathered from Canola Production Centre trials found a spring pre-seed burnoff application resulted in canola yields increasing by 15 per cent. A 2007 study by Sapsford, Holm, Johnson and Cleary in Saskatchewan found a spring glyphosate application resulted in significantly higher wheat yields — in some cases more than doubling the yields compared to wheat planted in fields that did not receive a burn-off.

But is a straight glyphosate burn off sufficient to maximize crop production? Many growers believe there are significant benefits to be gained by powering up a glyphosate burn-off with the add-in of a second active ingredient. In fact, it is estimated 40 per cent of the burnoff is now done with a tank mix of glyphosate and a second active.

“DuPont was the first company to target the pre-seed market with a dedicated add-in partner,” says Jon Gough, DuPont product manager. “Successful reduced tillage requires good clean fields at seeding. Weeds that are not controlled early will have a significant impact later. Uncontrolled weeds steal moisture and nutrients from the crop, reducing the yield. Glyphosate has no residual action so adding a product like Express Pro to your glyphosate not only enhances the weed control of glyphosate on hard-to-kill weeds but also provides a couple of weeks of residual control of weeds which germinate after the burn-off operation.

“After a grower has used glyphosate alone for spring burn-off, and then adds Express to the tank, they never to back to glyphosate alone,” Gough says.


Craig Brekkas, product manager, Arysta LifeScience, suggests growers should consider the weeds on which glyphosate alone is weak (or ineffective), and if these weeds are present in your field in the spring time then an add-in product with glyphosate for burn-off is very important.

Dandelion and narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard were two weeds identified by everyone interviewed for this article as weeds which glyphosate alone will not effectively control in the spring. Both of these weeds are also on the increase due to reduced-tillage practices.

An even bigger weed problem and one which glyphosate alone has no effect on are Roundup Ready volunteers. If you are growing Roundup Ready crops, then it is critical that you use an add-in for your spring burn-off. After all, volunteers steal moisture and nutrients from your crop just like any weed does.

Chris Vander Kant, BASF western herbicides market manager says an add-in can provide faster burndown of weeds. While glyphosate can take up to 14 days for a complete kill of weeds, the addition of a product like BASF’s Heat reduces the kill time to four to seven days — again saving moisture and nutrients for the crop.

Another reason for using a tank mix of glyphosate and another herbicide for your burn-down is resistance management, says Ed Thiessen, technical crop manager for Syngenta. He points out that there are a number of weeds which have developed resistance to glyphosate in the U. S. and now one weed in Ontario is suspected of having glyphosate resistance. Since many growers rely on glyphosate alone in Roundup Ready crops, as well using just glyphosate for pre-harvest applications, Thiessen feels it only makes sense to add a second mode of action for the pre-seed burn off. “By adding Group 2 or 4 chemistry to Group 9 glyphosate, you reduce the chances of resistance developing to the products you use for the burn down.”

“Very little glyphosate goes down alone in the U. S. anymore because of the risk of more weeds developing tolerance to glyphosate,” says Thiessen.


While agronomically these are all good reasons for powering up your glyphosate by adding a tank mix partner for spring burn-off, growers are quick to point out that economically there is a cost to using an add-in to your burndown glyphosate application.

Gough suggests the additional costs are really quite low given the additional weed control you get from a burn-down tank mix. “An add-in with your glyphosate enables you to control hard to kill weeds, often at a lower cost than trying to kill those weeds in-crop.”

He also points out the reduction in the cost of glyphosate over the past year means you may be paying less now for glyphosate plus an add-in than you were spending on glyphosate alone a year ago.

BASF’s Vander Kant considers an add-in product to be cheap insurance. “How important is glyphosate to your farm operation? What are your options for farming without glyphosate?” Vander Kant believes when growers realize using a tank mix partner with glyphosate actually helps prevent the development of weed resistance to glyphosate, then the cost of the partner becomes very reasonable.

Thiessen says growers really need to know what weeds are present in their fields. He points out there are a number of products on the market which can be used with glyphosate for spring burn down and some of these products are very low cost. By knowing what you need on an individual field basis allows you to maximize the benefits of burn-down while minimizing cost.


According to Gough, a recent Stratus survey found 60 per cent of glyphosate used for burn-off

Example: name


product group(s)


add-in active(s) also found in….

general information about the product

(Note: This rundown does not include the numerous glyphosate brands which can also be used alone for a spring burn down.)



Group 4 Group 9

dicamba glyphosate

Banvel II, Oracle, Dicamba,

Introduced for chem fallow, the Rustler label now includes a pre-seeding application on lands which will be seeded to wheat, barley or rye.

Express SG


Group 2


Refine, Deploy, Broadside

Express SG enhances burn-down control of dandelion, flixweed, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, stink weed, wild buckwheat, and volunteer RR canola. According to the DuPont website: “Adding Express SG to glyphosate will deliver results that you can’t get by simply applying more glyphosate”


Dow AgroSciences

Group 2 Group 9

florasulam glyphosate

Frontline Benchmark, Spectrum

PrePass has the florasulam add-in already prepackaged with Dow AgroSciences glyphosate brand Vantage. “PrePass works on dandelion, wild buckwheat, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, stinkweed, cleavers, shepherd’s-purse, volunteer canola (all types), plus 21 other grass and broadleaf weeds” according to the Dow AgroSciences website and “extends broadleaf weed control up to 90% for up to two weeks following application” claims the Dow AgroSciences website.

Clean Start

CleanStart Plus



Group 14 Group 9

Group 14 Group 9

carfentrazone glyphosate

carfentrazone glyphosate

Aim EC

Aim EC

These products are co-packages of the add-in carfentrazone with NuFarm’s glyphosate products Credit and Credit Plus. NuFarm offers two different formulations of CleanStart, depending upon which NuFarm glyphosate product is in the co-package. Carfentrazone has no residual action so this product can be used ahead of vulnerable crops including pulses, canola, and flax. Yet CleanStart still provides enhanced control of dandelion, kochia, winter annuals, and volunteer canola. According to the NuFarm website: “CleanStart delivers faster weed control than glyphosate alone and allows for same-day seeding. Unlike other burn down options CleanStart has no residual and no cropping restrictions.”


Arysta LifeScience

Group 2



This product can only be used pre-seed on land where wheat will be seeded. Adding PrePare to your spring burn-down glyphosate application provides not only residual control of broadleaf weeds but residual control of wild oats and green foxtail as well. “What makes PRE-PARE a unique product over glyphosate alone is its residual control of wild oats and green foxtail ultimately giving the grower a longer lasting burn-down. This allows the grower greater freedom and flexibility to come back later with a reduced rate of EVEREST or EVEREST GBX when the time comes for an in crop application. This keeps a grower’s input costs under control, ” according to Arysta.

FirstStep Complete


Group 2 Group 9

tribenuron-methyl glyphosate

Refine, Deploy, Broadside

FirstStep Complete is the Viterra brand of Express SG co-packaged with the Viterra glyphosate brand StartUp. “The convenient 60 acre package contains everything a farmer needs for an effective pre-seed burn down including control of weeds such as: tough to kill dandelion, flixweed, narrow-leaf hawk’s beard, cow cockle and glyphosate tolerant volunteer canola” is how FirstStep is described on the Viterra website.



Group 14



Just recently registered, Heat must be tank mixed with the glyphosate of your choice for your spring burn down operation. “Heat is a new innovation offering a completely unique class of chemistry that will provide great benefit for pre-seed and chem-fallow applications,” said Chris Vander Kant, BASF western herbicides market manager. “Heat tank-mixed with glyphosate will give growers the fastest, sharpest and most sustainable control of the toughest broadleaf weeds.”

Express Pro


Group 2 Group 2

tribenuron-methyl metsulfuron-methyl

Refine Ally

Express Pro has just been registered. Express Pro is a formulation of Express SG plus a second active ingredient. The DuPont website states: “Express Pro substantially improves the control of weeds like dandelion, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard and volunteer Roundup Ready canola as well as a broad spectrum control of other broadleaf weeds. In addition Express Pro provides extended control of these key weeds for up to 15 days.” Express Pro can be tank mixed with any glyphosate product for your burnoff operation.





Group 2 Group 9

Group 4 Group 9

flucarbazone glyphosate

dicamba glyphosate


Banvel II, Oracle, Dicamba

Syngenta has made application for the registration for two new pre-seed co-packs. Pace is a co-pack of flucarbazone with Syngenta’s glyphosate Touchdown. Takkel is a co-pack of dicamba and Touchdown.

is not tank mixed with another herbicide. This means there is a tremendous untapped market for add-in products and the herbicide industry is rushing to capture some of those acres. This year there could be as many as 11 registered products for pre-seed burn-off, not including all the brands of glyphosate which can be used alone. Also absent is a list of the multiple brands of 2,4-D or MCPA that can also be tank mixed with glyphosate and applied before planting certain cereal crops. Refer to the 2,4-D and MCPA labels for listing of follow crops and application rates.

As with any herbicide, it is important growers know the agronomic fit for each product as well as the group(s) to which these products belong. Here is a rundown of spring burn-off products which are currently registered or for which registration is expected by spring. Each listing has the product name, company which manufactures the product, the group to which the product belongs, the active ingredient, and in-crop herbicides which contain the same active ingredient. Also included is a short description of the product and the market segment which the product is targeted for. As always, this list is for information only; always refer to the product label and current Guide to Crop Protection to ensure proper use of the products.

Gerald Pilger farms at Ohaton, Alta.

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