Farmers who want to treat fields of continuous wheat with a cheat herbicide have a big decision to make: Should they spend the money and apply it this fall or wait until spring to see if the wheat is going to yield enough to pay for it?
Each of the commonly used cheat herbicides—PowerFlex, Olympus and Maverick—are most effective on cheat when applied in the fall, especially for control of downy brome, says Dallas Peterson, a Kansas State University Extension agronomist. These products can also be applied in the winter if cheat is actively growing or in the early spring, but control is most consistent when applied in the fall.
Application should be timed to when the cheat is small and actively growing and when the wheat has at least three leaves but prior to jointing.
Another benefit of fall application is that it helps minimize rotational restrictions because of the extra time between application and planting of the next crop. Fall application might even open the door for double-cropping or planting failed acres to soybeans in the spring following PowerFlex or Olympus.
The cheat species present is a very important factor in the level of control to expect, Peterson adds. All the listed herbicides can provide good control of true cheat and Japanese brome (unless the weed population has developed resistance to the ALS class of herbicides), but they are less effective on downy brome.