Fall herbicide applications have been going on for several years now. They seem to show up in pockets, where a dealer pushes fall application or where farmers have had good luck doing it. You might expect more pockets this fall as some farmers realize having green fields meant working up the fields instead of planting directly into bean stubble.
At least one farmer has already said he will look hard at more fall application this spring. He likes to be able to do some no-till in the spring to speed planting along, but that wasn't possible where weedy fields had to be worked up ahead of planting.
Green fields also attract black cutworm moths. Some black cutworm damage has been reported, with cut plants found in some fields. Once the moths are attracted to green fields, they lay eggs there and the eggs hatch and cause damage once the seedling germinates and corn begins to emerge.
The only drawback to going toward fall herbicide applications is that you are eliminating the possibility of cover crops, one of the hottest trends in many areas. Again, Indiana agriculture is not one world this spring. There are people who planted cover crops and burned them down before planting, people who planted them and burned them down after planting, people who planted annual ryegrass and had problems burning it down because the weather was so cool, and people who didn't use cover crops at all.
Acreage-wise there are still many more acres without cover crops than with cover crops. Some believe cover crops, especially rye, can help control weed pressure in the spring. Those worried about weeds and spring planting conditions will have to decide whether a fall herbicide application and a clean field to plant into in the spring is a better option than growing something on the soil all year, burning it down and then planting into it.