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Suitability of Wild Oat (Avena fatua), False Cleavers (Galium spurium), and Volunteer Canola (Brassica napus) for Harvest Weed Seed Control in Western Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2017

Breanne D. Tidemann*
Graduate Student and Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 410 Agriculture and Forestry Center, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada
Linda M. Hall
Graduate Student and Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 410 Agriculture and Forestry Center, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada
K. Neil Harker
Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), 6000 C&E Trail, Lacombe, AB T4L 1W1, Canada
Hugh J. Beckie
Research Scientist, AAFC, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X2, Canada
Eric N. Johnson
Research Assistant, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada
F. Craig Stevenson
Consultant, 142 Rogers Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 3T6, Canada
*Corresponding author’s E-mail:


As chemical management options for weeds become increasingly limited due to selection for herbicide resistance, investigation of additional nonchemical tools becomes necessary. Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) is a methodology of weed management that targets and destroys weed seeds that are otherwise dispersed by harvesters following threshing. It is not known whether problem weeds in western Canada retain their seeds in sufficient quantities until harvest at a height suitable for collection. A study was conducted at three sites over 2 yr to determine whether retention and height criteria were met by wild oat, false cleavers, and volunteer canola. Wild oat consistently shed seeds early, but seed retention was variable, averaging 56% at the time of wheat swathing, with continued losses until direct harvest of wheat and fababean. The majority of retained seeds were >45 cm above ground level, suitable for collection. Cleavers seed retention was highly variable by site-year, but generally greater than wild oat. The majority of seed was retained >15 cm above ground level and would be considered collectable. Canola seed typically had >95% retention, with the majority of seed retained >15 cm above ground level. The suitability ranking of the species for management with HWSC was canola>cleavers>wild oat. Efficacy of HWSC systems in western Canada will depend on the target species and site- and year-specific environmental conditions.

Weed Biology and Ecology
© Weed Science Society of America, 2017 

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Associate Editor for this paper: Carlene Chase, University of Florida.


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