Herbicide resistant wild oats are pretty easy to identify, says Neil Harker, a research scientist in weed ecology and crop management at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lacombe Research Centre.
“You generally see them in patches. If you see [wild oats] in real straight lines, then you suspect a sprayer error, but if you just see them in little patches out there, you…can often assume — at least in Alberta — that they’re going to be resistant.”
Preventing herbicide resistance involves diversity in crop rotations and chemical active ingredients. Once a farmer has confirmed herbicide resistance, herbicides the plant is susceptible to can be applied, or non-chemical practices considered. According to Harker, scientists in Alberta are looking at management practices besides the Harrington seed destructor, like chaff management.
“We’re not burning chaff yet, like they’re doing in Australia, but that’s very effective and when you’re in a desperate situation that can work well too.”
In the following interview, Jason Stroeve explores herbicide resistant wild oats with Harker, discussing identification, prevention and the danger of relying on new technologies.