Harvest Aids for Wheat and Feed Barley

Mark VanGessel, Extension Weed Specialist; mjv@udel.edu

There have been a few calls about harvest aids for small grains due to poor weed control. There are only a few options available as harvest aides for wheat and feed barley (not malting barley). These include Aim, Defol, glyphosate, and Sharpen. While 2,4-D and dicamba are labeled, we generally do not recommend them for this region.

Aim, Defol, and Sharpen will “burn off” the leaves and provide some drying of the stems, but they are unlikely to kill weeds or rogue plants present in the field. They will not influence weed seed production.

When desiccating weeds to facilitate harvest, these products work best on clear, calm, sunny days with high temperature and high humidity

Sharpen up to 2 fl oz

  • include methylated seed oil and ammonium sulfate
  • wait until the hard-dough stage or later
  • label says to allow up to 10 days for optimum desiccation although actual time depends on environmental conditions

Defol up to 4.8 qts

  • recommended with non-ionic surfactant or crop oil
  • do not harvest for 3 days

Aim up to 2 fl oz

  • methylated seed oil or crop oil concentrate is required
  • nitrogen fertilizer or ammonium sulfate is allowed
  • do not harvest for 7 days