Optimize Harvest with Pre-Harvest Weed Control and Desiccation

Jeff Vanrobaeys

Jul 03, 2023

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When harvesting your crops, timing is everything. Pre-harvest weed control and desiccation can play a crucial role in ensuring a successful harvest by terminating crops with an herbicide application. While the concepts are similar, it’s important to understand the differences between pre-harvest and desiccation in order to effectively implement these practices on your farm.

Why Is Pre-Harvest Weed Control Important?

Pre-harvest weed control is important for several reasons. Most importantly, weeds reduce the quality of crops and can introduce disease and pest pressure. Weeds can also compete with crops for nutrients and water, likely reducing yields, and can make it more difficult to harvest crops when they get tangled in harvesting equipment. 

This weed control approach can be implemented either mechanically through mowing or tillage, or chemically using herbicides. While mechanical approaches can be effective, they are often time-consuming and labour-intensive. Many farmers prefer chemical approaches for their expedited application and impact.  

One chemical option is Smoke® 540 Glyphosate Value Pick, a non-selective, non-residual herbicide with a wide range of tank mix partners to control broadleaf and grassy weeds. Typically applied 7-14 days before harvest of most crops, Smoke® 540 provides excellent weed control of all actively growing weeds including tough perennials such as Canada thistle.

Additional tank mix options can also be incorporated alongside Smoke® 540 at pre-harvest for a synergistic effect. Including Maxunitech Carfentrazone-Ethyl 240EC adds a Group 14 herbicide to the Group 9 Smoke® 540, providing quicker plant dry down and weed control. Icon® can be added for thick, dense crops to improve coverage and weed control performance.

Why Is Desiccation Important? 

Desiccation is the process of drying out crops before harvest with the goal of making them easier to harvest and reducing the risk of spoilage. This can be done naturally but relatively slowly by waiting for the crops to dry out on their own, or more quickly by using herbicides like FBN Diquat 240 SN (which contains diquat dibromide, the same active ingredient as Reglone®) with Icon® or Falcon® to speed up the process. Another commonly used desiccation option that can break down rapidly in soil is Glufosinate 150, a non-selective, group 10 herbicide often used for alfalfa, canola, potatoes and lentils. 

During the desiccation process, any weeds present are also dried down as well, and harvest commences in 4-10 days depending on the weather conditions. Because the weeds are quickly dried down, they are often not completely killed and the perennial weeds will eventually start to regrow. 

Herbicide Products from FBN Direct®

FBN Direct offers a diverse portfolio of herbicides like Smoke® 540 Glyphosate Value Pick, Glufosinate 150 Value Pick and FBN Diquat 240 SN to protect your crops this season. With easy online ordering and direct-to-farm delivery, FBN Direct offers seamless, timely access to the equipment and inputs you need. 

© 2015 - 2023 Farmer's Business Network Canada, Inc. All rights reserved. The sprout logo, "FBN," "FBN Direct," and “Smoke” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. or its affiliates.

The following Trademarks are the property of their Owners as listed, or their affiliates. Norac Concepts Inc: Icon, Falcon. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by Farmer's Business Network Canada, Inc. and are available only in provinces where Farmer's Business Network Canada, Inc. is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. Not available in Quebec. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice. Terms and conditions apply.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and provincial law to use any pest control product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pest control product is a violation of federal and/or provincial law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, provincial and local laws. We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must have a valid applicator license and/or be a certified farmer, to use restricted and commercial pest control products (exceptions may apply based on province). Please consult your applicable provincial authority for complete rules and regulations on licensing, use, and recording keeping requirements of restricted and commercial pest control products.

Jeff Vanrobaeys

Jul 03, 2023

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