Nick Fradgley and co-authors look into the winter oat crops ability to tolerate weeds and suppress them. Looking to give insights and advice on weed management. In particular looking to take an agroecological approach.
Oats have been said by many to be a very competitive crop, and with the lack of chemical control available this becomes even more important. The study assessed five husked varieties and three naked varieties.
Weed tolerance studies showed height to be the most important factor in this, but not in suppression. What was seen was that husked varieties yields differed in response to weed competition, whereas this wasn’t noted in naked oats. In fact one husked variety suffered a 35% yield loss. This really does highlight the importance of on-farm variety selection. Growers need to make the most informed decision they can to secure yields.
Weed suppression was an entirely different “kettle-of-fish”. The results highlighted the importance of good, and rapid, establishment in order to remain competitive. Although that probably comes as no surprise to many, it does highlight some of the adages of old:
- Seed bed preparation
- Good drilling conditions
- The right variety
- Rolling and subsequent looking after the crop.
Dad was right after all…
This all in the aim to increase not only establishment but tiller retention as well; another of the important competitive traits observed. Tillering ability was also noted to be beneficial for grain yield and was highly heritable – a good note for breeders as this is then a trait that can be more easily selected for. Another notable trait was that of leaf area index, although this was observed to be less heritable albeit important.
We can take many valuable points away from this study, particularly in this challenging space.
For the full article please read Weed Suppression and Tolerance in Winter Oats
Weed Suppression and Tolerance in Winter Oats
Fradgley, N., Creissen, H., Pearce, H., Howlett, S., Pearce, B., Döring, T., & Girling, R. (2017). Weed Suppression and Tolerance in Winter Oats. Weed Technology, 1-12. doi:10.1017/wet.2017.46