cover crop termination blog post

Share This Article

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Early Season Adjuvant Strategies – Cover Crop Termination

In the blog post “Early Season Adjuvant Strategies – Burndown”, details about what to consider for an effective burndown of weeds and the role of adjuvants was explained. As growers are becoming more aware of the importance of soil health, cover crops are increasing in popularity.

Cover crops provide a broad range of benefits to increase soil health and become increasingly common for commodity crops. Cover crops can prevent erosion, improve soil structure, activate soil microbes, supply nutrients to the following crops, suppress weeds, improve soil water availability, and break pest cycles. They can also be used for forage production. These benefits have made more growers consider the use of cover crops in the past few years.

Cover crops can be divided into winter-hardy cover crops like cereal rye, wheat, and clover, or cover crops that do not survive the winter like oats, brassica crops, ryegrass. The survival of a cover crop depends on many factors like the time of planting in the fall and the weather from seeding to spring. The winter-hardy cover crops need to be terminated before the cash crop is planted to ensure the yield is not impacted in the regular season.

Cover Crop Termination

Tillage is generally not the best option to terminate cover crops.  It destroys many of the natural benefits they provide. Herbicides are the most reliable and flexible option for cover crop termination, but they also have some risks. Cover crops often have a thick canopy; they are rapidly growing plants in the spring. That characteristic, combined with the typical lower temperatures at this time of year, leaves the door open for termination failure when herbicides are improperly applied.

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide for terminating cover crops. Other herbicides like 2,4- D, paraquat, dicamba, or blends thereof can also be applied. Glyphosate generally provides more consistent control in early spring under variable weather conditions than, for example, paraquat. It is recommended to add adjuvants listed on the herbicide label to the tank mix to improve overall efficacy.

Text continues below image

Cover crops provide a broad range of benefits to increase soil health and become increasingly common for commodity crops.

Cover crops provide a broad range of benefits to increase soil health and become increasingly common for commodity crops. 

Inclusion of 2,4-D or dicamba in cover crop termination programs is likely required to achieve sufficient control of legume-based cover crops. It can also broaden weed control during the growing season. Both of these herbicides are compatible tank-mix partners with glyphosate and can be used before corn or soybean planting. Applying 2,4-D or dicamba one to two weeks before planting corn and planting it deep enough, at least 1.5 inches, enhances crop safety. Be sure to read the herbicide label for pre-plant restrictions before soybean seeding for the various 2,4-D and dicamba products on the market. It is always recommended to read the label of the pesticide applied for rates and needed adjuvants.

Weather is an Essential Factor

Suboptimal weather conditions can reduce herbicide effectiveness. The following suggestions may help when planning the cover crop termination spray.

  1. Whenever possible, spray in the middle of the day in sunny conditions when daytime temperatures are above 55°F. Under these conditions, the cover crop is actively growing and will absorb the herbicide more effectively.
  2. Nighttime temperatures should stay above 40°F.
  3. To compensate for the lower temperatures, use the higher labeled rate range of herbicides and adjuvants.
  4. Check the spray carrier water quality to see if there is a need for a water conditioner to ensure herbicide effectiveness.
  5. Follow the herbicide label instructions for adding the appropriate adjuvants, the mixing order, and the application instructions, including spray volume, nozzle type, and environmental considerations. Increasing the spray volumes up to 15-20 GPA can help increase coverage in dense cover crops.
  6. The use of off-label adjuvants or the inclusion of additional herbicides may reduce spray efficacy. Use of non-recommended additives can cause antagonism reducing the effectiveness of the herbicides.
  7. Always check herbicide labels for planting restrictions for corn or soybeans following application to avoid injury to your cash crop.
  8. If excessive foaming is happening during mixing, adding an antifoam/defoamer will ensure proper application rates.
  9. After herbicide applications, use a tank cleaner so that no cross-contamination will happen during post-emergence applications.
Herbicides are helpful to terminate cover crops. Adding labeled adjuvants optimizes the herbicide effectiveness, ensuring the desired results.

A field without crops ready for pre-emergence herbicide applications to place before crops emerge. Proper application helps provide a good competition-free environment for crops to begin their development.

Pre-Emergence Herbicide Applications

Pre-emergence herbicide applications will be taking place before crops emerge. Proper application helps provide a good competition-free environment for crops to begin their development.

Utility adjuvants are added to pesticide tank mixes to improve spray mix characteristics such as spreading, penetration, droplet size, volatility and drift reduction.

When to Use Utility Adjuvants

Utility adjuvants are added to pesticide tank mixes to improve spray mix characteristics such as spreading, penetration, droplet size, volatility, and drift reduction.

Follow Exacto, Inc.

Featured Product

Want to receive our next blog in your mailbox?

Solutions Offered

Contract Research & Product Development

Exacto has strong research and product development capabilities build on 40 years of experience. We offer customized product development services to meet your specific pesticide, fertilizer, biostimulant, biopesticide, adjuvant, or seed treatment needs.

Private Label Service

Our full-service specialty chemical development and commercialization program provides access to the latest technologies and the technical and marketing support needed to establish a successful custom branded product program, including in-house label design and printing capabilities.

Regulatory

Monitoring the regulations that affect your day to day operations, Exacto’s regulatory compliance staff provides a wealth of information for both our associates and partners for expert advice to navigate the complicated world of local, state, federal, and international rules and regulations. 

Research, Development & Innovation

Exacto’s Research, Development, and Innovation (RD&I) team consist of seasoned scientists with expertise in chemistry, biology, and agronomy.  Their areas of expertise lay in product development and testing, raw material qualification, analytical method development, and manufacturing support.

Let's connect

Sign up for our newsletter

Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation, monitor site usage, and web traffic, assist with our  marketing efforts, customize and improve our services and websites, as set out in our Privacy Notice.