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Wild oats (Avena fatua) & (Avena Ludoviciana Duriev)

Wild oat infestations are now a serious problem in many fields on the Isle of Man.

The wild oat germinates in both autumn and spring, although the majority of seeds germinate in the spring. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for long periods, up to 10 years in undisturbed land and 4 to 5 years in cultivated soils. Severe infestations are normally associated with continuous cereal growing but can be serious in rotation with peas and beans. In winter wheat yields can be reduced by as much as 1tonne/Ha and in spring cereals 0.5 - 0.6 tonne/Ha. Wild oat is spread in many ways but contaminated seed corn, straw and combines, together with pigeons, rooks and game birds constitute the major agencies.

Control

Good management will help reduce infestations, sow certified seed, if using home-saved seed have it tested, in fields with severe infestations take out of cereals for five or more years, inspect all cereal fields every two weeks after crops have headed, thoroughly rogue any wild oat plants, place in a bag and burn, clean out combine after harvesting an infested field to prevent spread to other fields and do not spread bedding straw from infected crops on land for cropping.

If a field is known to be badly infested use a recommended herbicide. There are many available and choice should depend on crop, severity of infestation and timing of applications.

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