Be on the lookout for wild oats!


<p>Wild oats are an insidiously spreading noxious weed. The panicles pushing up through the growing crop are starting to stand out during the first half of July in the southern parts of Finland. The weed causes significant financial losses and its control is regulated by legislation. The most efficient means of control is to destroy the first specimens found during the checks. Wild oats are also controlled by chemical means.</p>

Wild oats have contaminated about 324 000 ha or over 14 % of the field surface area and it is particularly a problem in the most important grain cultivation areas. There are not to be any wild oats in certified seed. Costs are caused by loss of quality and quantity of the harvest, costs of eradication and increased labour inputs.

The farmer should check his fields for wild oats. Proper binoculars are a good help for monitoring of the blocks. The blocks should be systematically checked 2-3 times at one week intervals. It is best to always check all of the blocks, to pull up the first specimens and to destroy them for example by burning.

Monitor the results of chemical control

Wild oats are controlled by chemical means in the early summer. With grain, the control has to be carried out at the beginning of the growth of the stem at the latest. Chemical control can be continued in July on idle land and fallows.

The results of the control have to be checked even if chemical control has been carried out correctly previously. There is to be no delay with weeding, as the seeds of the wild oats can germinate as early as two weeks after the panicles have formed and start to fall to the ground long before harvesting time. If the block is very contaminated, all the plants in it may have to be destroyed completely in order to prevent the spread of the wild oats.

The whole plant is pulled up with the roots and put into a sturdy sack, which is taken off the field and the wild oats are burned or for example buried deep into the ground. The wild oats that have been pulled up are not to be left in the field under any circumstances. A vigorous specimen can produce hundreds of seeds, most of which will germinate the next spring and quickly worsen the contamination, if they end up in the field.

The dissemination of wild oats

Wild oats may have spread to previously clean blocks via birds, animals, machines or flood waters. A very common reason is the use of uncertified seed.

The occurrence of wild oats is being monitored

The monitoring is based on the Act on preventing wild oats and the associated decree. The occurrence of wild oats has to be reported to the agricultural authorities, its spread has to be hindered and it has to be controlled.

The monitoring of wild oats is carried out by the municipal authorities, the inspectors of the TE-Centres and Evira. Clear cases of negligence with regards to the control, can result in a loss of agricultural subsidies as a sanction. In cases of gross negligence, Evira can request the authorities to conduct an investigation.

For more information, please contact:
Jari Poikulainen, Evira, Inspector, tel. +358 40 719 1075
Ritva-Vallivaara-Pasto, Evira, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 833 2482


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