Top Crop Manager

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Wild oat develops new herbicide resistance in Australia


February 20, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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Proactive measures needed to prevent glyphosate-resistant wild oats in Canada.

Glyphosate-resistant wild oats were found in Australia earlier this month. As Canada often sees herbicide resistance develop shortly after Australia does, this should be a wake-up call to any Canadian farmers relying solely on glyphosate to control wild oat in their fields.

“Glyphosate resistance in wild oat would be a huge issue for agriculture in Western Canada,” Charles Geddes, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said in a statement to The Western Producer. “Most farmers are currently dealing with herbicide-resistant wild oat as it is; adding glyphosate resistance on top of that would be very difficult for farms to manage.”

Glyphosate-resistance in wild oat has been a fear for Canadian farmers for years. The weed is problematic enough as it is, with management costing more money compared to other weeds affecting Western Canada, according to research scientist Breanne Tidemann. Wild oat is already resistant to six different modes of action in Manitoba – Groups 1, 2, 8, 14, 15 and 25 – earning the province the dubious honour of being a global leader in wild oat herbicide resistance.

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The Australian farmer who identified the glyphosate-resistant wild oat found two different species of resistant wild oat in his field – one of which is found in Canada, and is already causing headaches on the Prairies.

It has been estimated that Prairie farmers spend several hundred million dollars annually on wild oat herbicides, and that they lose an estimated $500 million from reduced yields, dockage losses and lower grades due to the weed. If wild oat in Western Canada were to develop glyphosate resistance, the amount of money lost on crops would quickly grow.