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Effectively managing herbicide-resistant weeds in dry conditions with a pre-seed burndown

Dry or wet, whatever conditions this coming spring brings, one thing is certain – weeds will be emerging, whether you can see them or not. 

That’s why a grower’s number one goal should be to use a pre-seed burnoff to limit early herbicide-resistant weed competition on emerging crops, even when conditions are dry.

According to Nolan Kowalchuk, FMC’s Technical Sales Manager for the western prairies, a pre-seed burnoff can be a valuable tool for managing herbicide-resistant weed seeds.

“A pre-seed burnoff enhances overall weed control by getting a jump on those early emerged weeds,” says Kowalchuk. “And then utilizing soil-applied technology with the burnoff application allows you control later emerging weeds while enhancing resistance management opportunities and overall crop performance.”

While  soil-applied, extended weed control products do require a set amount of moisture to activate, once they receive that activating moisture they go to work, controlling early germinating weeds like kochia. 

Listen to an excerpt of an interview with Nolan Kowalchuk, Technical Sales Manager, FMC as he discusses how pre seed burnoff benefits and/or sets the stage for herbicide resistant weed seed management.&

“The right pre-seed product in dry conditions can eliminate the emerged weed growth to eliminate any immediate competition with your emerging crops.” he says. “And once rain is received, the crop can really begin to grow more robustly and weed-free.”

The soil-applied product is working and allowing the crop to establish and get well ahead of any additional flushes that may come much later. 

Watch an excerpt of an interview with Nolan Kowalchuk, Technical Sales Manager, FMC as he discusses herbicide layering.

“The pre-seed burnoff is also going to improve the efficacy of the in-crop herbicides by eliminating the early weed competition,” says Kowalchuk. “This allows the crop to establish a competitive advantage over the weeds and allow the in-crop chemistry to be that much more efficacious because you're going to have less dense weed pressure and much smaller target weeds.”

For example, kochia has developed resistance to multiple herbicide groups including Groups 2, 4, 9 and 14. It germinates very early in the spring, which is why it is important to use pre-seed burnoff products that have more than one active ingredient. 

If there is another dry spring, by incorporating glyphosate and tank mix additives that target emerged weeds, it will help eliminate weeds that have germinated from the limited soil moisture, preventing them from competing with the newly germinating crop for the limited moisture and nutrients available.

Nolan Kowalchuk, Technical Sales Manager, FMC explains why is it important that growers maintain a pre-emergent program even when they might think weeds aren’t going to be a problem.
Nolan Kowalchuk, Technical Sales Manager at FMC, discusses various strategies beyond pre-seed burnoff that farmers can use to secure robust crop establishment and growth, leading to enhanced yield potential.

Burnoff Herbicides

Spring burnoff is a herbicide application that happens pre-seed or pre-emergence to the crop. A proper burnoff application controls emerged weeds so you can begin seeding into a clean slate. A spring burnoff is a great way to handle those tough winter annuals and biennials that have germinated early.

FMC Burnoff Herbicide Products (CLICK TO VIEW)

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Aim EC HerbicideA strong Group 14 glyphosate partner for enhanced burnoff prior to all major crops. Controls resistant broadleaf weeds and keeps cropping options open, so you can seed a wide variety of crops after application, including canola, pulses (including lentils) and cereals. 


Intruvix HerbicideThe ideal burnoff before cereals, bringing fast activity and the power of systemic action. When added to glyphosate, four modes of action fight resistance and control over 30 of the toughest broadleaf weeds like kochia, cleavers, dandelions and narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard. 


Express SG Herbicide

Combines excellent weed control with the flexibility to plant 20 different crops 24 hours after application. Express® SG herbicide can be mixed with both Aim® EC herbicide and Authority® 480 herbicide to enhance weed control and resistance management. 


Express PRO Herbicide Logo

Designed with Western farmers in mind, Express® PRO herbicide provides control of even the toughest broadleaf weeds. It brings both powerful burnoff and up to 15 days of extended activity on cleavers, dandelions, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard and volunteer canola (excluding Group 2 herbicide tolerant canola). 




Comprehensive weed control for cereal crops and excellent resistance management with three modes of action when added to glyphosate. Enhanced control of key weeds such as kochia (including Groups 2 & 9 resistant biotypes), dandelion, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, flixweed, stinkweed and volunteer canola. 


Extended Weed Control

Improve your early season weed management with a product that protects the crop’s critical weed-free period. Products with extended weed control help manage weed pressure as the crop becomes established. The extended weed control products available from FMC create a soil-barrier once the herbicide goes into a solution with an activation rain or moisture event.   This soil-barrier provides control of later weed flushes, reducing weed competition during that critical time.

FMC Extended Weed Control Products (CLICK TO VIEW)

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Authority Supreme Herbicide

Give your crops extended 2-in-1 pre-emergent protection. Uses dual modes of action to dominate even the toughest hard-to-control weeds. Extended activity from both the Group 14 and 15 actives provides protection against grassy and broadleaf weeds in field peas, chickpeas and soybeans. 


Authority 480 Herbicide

Consistent, pre-emergent extended Group 14 activity to control kochia, redroot pigweed, lamb’s-quarters, cleavers*, wild buckwheat and more. Apply pre-seed or up to three days after seeding field peas, soybeans, flax and other crops. Registered for control of kochia in spring and durum wheat. 


Command 360 Herbicide

When you apply Command® 360 ME herbicide pre-seed— with or without glyphosate — its powerful Group 13 mode of action goes to work, controlling flushing cleavers and suppresses chickweed so you can take back command of your fields, while fighting resistance at the same time. 

Complete Solution

Glyphosate offers contact-only control of weeds. Command Charge® herbicide and Focus® herbicide offer a complete solution -- both burnoff and extended weed control -- making them the perfect choice to launch a weed-free spring.

FMC Complete Solution Products (CLICK TO VIEW)

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Authority Strike


Delivers a fast, powerful one-pass burnoff to start followed by long-lasting extended control of later flushing weeds for pulse and cereal crops. 


Command Charge Herbicide This Group 13 and 14 product delivers the most comprehensive broadleaf burnoff available to canola growers today. Tank-mix Command® Charge herbicide with glyphosate for fast control of emerged broadleaf weeds including kochia, volunteer canola, lamb’s-quarters and flixweed. The Group 13 mode of action delivers extended activity of flushing cleavers and chickweed. 


FOCUS HerbicideGives lentils and spring wheat growers powerful grassy and broadleaf weed control from dual modes of action. Focus® herbicide can be applied at pre-seed, pre-emergence or in the fall for powerful, extended activity on both grassy and broadleaf weeds. Group 14 and 15 modes of action provide enhanced burnoff when added to glyphosate and extended control of a wide weed spectrum, and an all-in-one resistance management tool. 


Don't Spray Glyphosate Alone

Field with Sprouts

Adding a tank-mix partner to your pre-seed application protects yield. And there are long-term benefits to using a tank-mix partner, particularly when it comes to fighting the development of weed resistance.

Yield-loss can occur very early in the season if weeds are left to compete with the crop through the critical weed-free period. It’s important to seed the crop into a clean seedbed but it’s also just as important to keep a field clean through the early growth stages of the crop.

Always tank-mix glyphosate with other herbicide mode of actions. Using a tank-mix partner with glyphosate is a best practice that pays dividends now and in the future. 


Early Season Application

Early Crop Shoots

Starting clean with a pre-seed burnoff application helps reduce early-season weed pressure, which helps your crop get off to a good start. Remove weeds early, before they rob moisture and nutrients from the crop and that clean start is critical in producing in-the-bin yield.

It’s easier to control weeds at smaller stages. Winter annual weeds such as flixweed, shepherd’s purse, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard and stinkweed are particularly bad. They remove a significant amount of soil moisture in the spring as they are very inefficient water users.


Learn More About FMC Pre-Seed Herbicides

View All Pre-Seed Products