By Brian Hefty

Stop early season weeds, get more yield. The formula is the same in every crop. Many wheat farmers today are talking to me about trying to cut costs, but if you have very many weeds at all, you will want to find the most economical way to get those weeds under control. If you don’t stop them – and early – your yield will often be hurt far more than the cost of the weed killer. Here are our top 3 suggestions for pre-emerge herbicides in wheat.

  1. Pre-Pare. For $3 to $5 per acre (0.2 to 0.3 ounces per acre), this is my favorite pre-emerge wheat product by far. Pre-Pare suppresses many different grasses, including cheatgrass. It also helps on a big list of broadleaves. Pre-Pare has both contact and residual activity. The only real negative with Pre-Pare is it is an ALS (Group 2) herbicide, so it won’t kill ALS-resistant weeds. Pre-Pare has the same active ingredient as Everest.
  2. Sharpen. This is a PPO, similar to Valor or Authority in soybeans. Sharpen can be used on many different crops, and it is an outstanding burndown product. We suggest running 2 to 3 ounces per acre in front of wheat so you get good residual on a wide variety of broadleaf weeds, including kochia. Sharpen has no grass activity, and it must be sprayed before any wheat plants emerge. The biggest downside is the cost, at $10 to $15 per acre.
  3. Zidua. The only Group 15 herbicide labeled in wheat, Zidua can help on resistant grasses and broadleaves. Unfortunately, it is fairly expensive ($8 to $16 per acre), and the timing is critical. Ideally, we’d like to see this applied 1 to 3 days before wheat emergence. Too early, and germination could be hurt. Too late, and you can see some leaf response on emerged wheat. There is a liquid and a dry formulation, so make sure you get the right rate depending on the version you buy.