Wild Oat: Scarier Than a
Halloween Goblin

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Judge Barth

With a corkscrewing seed end that burrows into soil and the ability to lurk underground for years, wild oat is the stuff of nightmares. When the noxious weed does emerge from the depths, the grassy weed produces chemicals that hinder nearby plant growth.

“Wild oat is scary. It’s a nasty weed that can lay dormant in the soil. This weed likes cool, wet springs, and we had the perfect storm this year for wild oat to germinate,” says Judge Barth, director of agronomy for Dakota Frontier Cooperative in Napoleon, North Dakota.

Barth, who oversees nine retail locations across southwest North Dakota, notes wild oat germinates at a lower temperature than many problem weeds and is often one of the first grassy weeds to emerge in wheat and barley fields. 

“Wild oat is scary. It’s a nasty weed that likes cool, wet springs, germinates quickly and will quickly get ahead of wheat and barley.” — Judge Barth

“Herbicide timing is critical,” Barth says. “Wild oat is very competitive and germinates quickly. If it is not controlled at the two- to three-leaf stage, it will quickly get ahead of wheat and barley and can drop a crop to the ground. It also can choke out everything around it.”

Another frequent weed problem for northern Plains cereal growers is kochia.

“It’s a nasty weed that I swear could grow on concrete,” Barth says. “Kochia has a ton of growing points on it. It can quickly grow from the size of a dime to my height. Adequate spray coverage is essential because of that multitude of growing points. It can literally pull a crop down.”

Wild buckwheat also loves cool, wet weather, prevalent across much of North Dakota this year.

An April 18 blizzard dropped 39 inches of snowfall in Dickinson, North Dakota, pushing growers out of the field for as much as a month. Unusually cool May and June temperatures, with many days below 50, followed this high-moisture event.

Barth often relies on OpenSky® herbicide to attack wild oat, wild buckwheat and kochia early in the season when the weeds are small.

“We use OpenSky because it offers complete grass and broadleaf control, the 1-pint rate is easy to remember and rotation to sunflower and soybeans is possible,” Barth says. “OpenSky makes it easy for growers. They can tank-mix 1 pint of OpenSky with a fungicide and a drift retardant to get a broad spectrum of control and a wider window of application.”

Another product in Barth’s weed control arsenal is WideARmatch® herbicide.

“WideARmatch controls especially problematic weeds, such as Canada thistle and marestail, and offers the flexibility to pick your Group 1 or 2 grass herbicide tank-mix partner,” Barth says.

For those customers growing malting barley, Rezuvant®herbicide is Barth’s go-to herbicide.

Visit CerealHerbicides.corteva.us to discover which cereal herbicide hits the mark for your unique cereal farming operation.

OpenSky®, Rezuvant® and WideARmatch® are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Arylex® is a registered active ingredient. Always read and follow label directions.