Spot wild oats for spring action

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21 January 2021, UK: Understanding your wild oat population now will allow better tailoring of herbicide rates and timing of treatments, along with adapting the most appropriate application techniques, advocated Syngenta Field Technical Manager, Georgina Wood.

“It is now apparent that more fields have mixed populations of winter and spring (common) wild oats (Avena sterillis and Avena fatua),” she highlighted.

“Knowing the species can help predict the principal timing of germination. However, you can expect a protracted emergence at any stage from early autumn, right through to late spring.” 

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Miss Wood advocated that where overwintered weed populations are identified, they should be targeted with Axial Pro as soon as growth recommences.

Identify and record wild oats early advises Georgina Wood

“Delaying application for longer, to wait for spring germinating wild oats, will only make the bigger weeds even harder to remove, along with the greater effect they would have had on the crop’s development, and being more competitive they have a greater impact on the crop’s yield,” she warned.  

Winter wild oats are considered more challenging and requiring more robust herbicide strategies. The species may also be showing a higher potential risk for herbicide resistance, although both winter and spring wild oats can be controlled with Axial Pro, she added.

After some significant cold spells this winter, wild oats which germinated in autumn will be waxy and more challenging to control if allowed to grow.

Where weeds are larger, Miss Wood reminded of the importance to maintain higher rates to achieve a complete kill and to minimise the risk of resistance developing. “The advanced built -in- wetter formulation of Axial Pro is especially valuable to optimise uptake for faster action to achieve maximum control.”

Wild oats

She pointed out that whilst last autumn’s pre-emergence herbicide results were good where they were applied, difficult spray conditions later in the season resulted in many fields not receiving their intended treatments.

“This means many wild oats will have escaped pre-em control” she advised. 

Winter wild oat - left - vs common spring wild oat

Mapping wild oat hot spots now can also give an insight into assessing winter or spring wild oat populations. Whilst they cannot be differentiated in the field until they set seed in the summer, it’s really valuable to have a reference point back to what germinated, where and when.

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