Skip to main content Accessibility help

Time of wild oat (Avena fatua) panicle clipping influences seed viability

  • Breanne D. Tidemann (a1), K. Neil Harker (a1), Eric N. Johnson (a2), Christian J. Willenborg (a3) and Steve J. Shirtliffe (a4)...


Wild oat (Avena fatua L.) is one of the most problematic weed species in western Canada due to widespread populations, herbicide resistance, and seed dormancy. In wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and especially in shorter crops such as lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), A. fatua seed panicles elongate above the crop canopy, which can facilitate physical cutting of the panicles (clipping) to reduce viable seed return to the seedbank. However, the viability of A. fatua seed at the time of panicle elongation is not known. The objective of this study was to determine the viability of A. fatua seed at successive time intervals after elongation above a wheat or lentil crop canopy. A 2-yr panicle clipping and removal study in wheat and lentil was conducted in Lacombe, AB, and Saskatoon, SK, in 2015 and 2016 to determine the onset of viability in A. fatua seeds at successive clipping intervals. Manual panicle clipping of A. fatua panicles above each crop canopy began when the majority of panicles were visible above respective crop canopies and continued weekly until seed shed began. At the initiation of panicle clipping, A. fatua seed viability was between 0% and 10%. By the last clipping treatment (approximately 6 to 7 wk after elongation), 95% of the A. fatua seeds were viable. Seed moisture and awn angle were not good predictors of A. fatua viability, and therefore were unlikely to provide effective tools to estimate appropriate timing for implementation of A. fatua clipping as a management technique. Based on A. fatua seed viability, earlier clipping of A. fatua is likely to be more effective in terms of population management and easier to implement in shorter crops such as lentil. Investigations into long-term effects of clipping on A. fatua populations are needed to evaluate the efficacy of this management strategy on A. fatua.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Breanne D. Tidemann, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, ABT4L 1W1, Canada. (Email:


Hide All

Associate Editor: Bhagirath Chauhan, The University of Queensland.



Hide All
[AAF] Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (2017) Crop Protection. AGDEX 606-1. Edmonton, AB, Canada: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex32. Accessed: May 26, 2017
Beckie, HJ, Blackshaw, RE, Harker, KN, Tidemann, BD (2018) Weed seed shatter in spring wheat in Alberta. Can J Plant Sci 98:107117
Beckie, HJ, Francis, A, Hall, LM (2012) The biology of Canadian weeds. 27. Avena fatua L. (updated). Can J Plant Sci 92:13291357
Beckie, HJ, Lozinski, C, Shirriff, S, Brenzil, C (2013) Herbicide-resistant weeds in the Canadian Prairies: 2007–2011. Weed Technol 27:171–18
Beckie, HJ, Thomas, AG, Legere, A, Kelner, DJ, Van Acker, RC, Meers, S (1999) Nature, occurrence, and cost of herbicide-resistant wild oat (Avena fatua) in small-grain production areas. Weed Technol 13:612625
Burton, NR, Beckie, HJ, Willenborg, CJ, Shirtliffe, SJ, Schoenau, JJ, Johnson, EN (2016) Evaluating seed shatter of economically important weed species. Weed Sci 64:673682
Burton, NR, Beckie, HJ, Willenborg, CJ, Shirtliffe, SJ, Schoenau, JJ, Johnson, EN (2017) Seed shatter of six economically important weed species in producer fields in Saskatchewan. Can J Plant Sci 97:266276
Curran, WS, Morrow, LA, Whitesides, RE (1987) Lentil (Lens culinaris) yield as influenced by duration of wild oat (Avena fatua) interference. Weed Sci 35:669672
Davis, AS, Frisvold, G (2017) Are herbicides a once in a century method of weed control? Pest Manag Sci 73:22092220
Davis, AS, Hill, JD, Chase, CA, Johanns, AM, Liebman, M (2012) Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health. PLoS ONE 7:e47149
Duke, SO (2012) Why have no new herbicide modes of action appeared in recent years? Pest Manag Sci 68:505512
Gill, GS, Holmes, JE (1997) Efficacy of cultural control methods for combating herbicide-resistant Lolium rigidum. Pestic Sci 51:352358
Harker, KN, Blackshaw, RE, Clayton, GW (2001) Timing weed removal in field pea (Pisum sativum). Weed Technol 15:277283
Heap, I (2019) The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Accessed: October 4, 2019
Holm, LG, Plucknett, DL, Pancho, JV, Herberger, JP (1991) The World's Worst Weeds—Distribution and Biology. Malabar, FL: Krieger. 609 p
Just Common Sense (2019) CombCut. Accessed: October 4, 2019
Kulkarni, SS, Dosdall, LM, Willenborg, CJ (2015) The role of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in weed seed consumption: a review. Weed Sci 63:355376
Liebman, M, Gallandt, ER (1997) Many little hammers: ecological management of crop-weed interactions. Pages 291343in Jackson, LE, ed. Ecology in Agriculture. San Diego, CA: Academic Press
Medd, RW, McMillan, MG, Cook, AS (1992) Spray-topping of wild oats (Avena spp.) with selective herbicides. Plant Prot Q 7:6265
O’Donovan, JT, de St Remy, EA, O’Sullivan, A, Dew, DA, Sharma, AK (1985) Influence of the relative time of emergence of wild oat (Avena fatua) on yield loss of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and wheat (Triticum aestivum). Weed Sci 33:498503
Owen, MDK (2016) Diverse approaches to herbicide-resistant weed management. Weed Sci 64(SP1):570584
Sawma, JT, Mohler, CL (2002) Evaluating seed viability by an unimbibed seed crush test in comparison with the tetrazolium test. Weed Technol 16:781786
Shirtliffe, SJ, Entz, MH, Van Acker, RC (2000) Avena fatua development and seed shatter as related to thermal time. Weed Sci 48:555560
Smitchger, JA, Burker, IC, Yenish, JP (2012) The critical period of weed control in lentil (Lens culinaris) in the Pacific Northwest. Weed Sci 60:8185
Steadman, KJ, Eaton, DM, Plummer, JA, Ferris, DG, Powles, SB (2006) Late-season non-selective herbicide application reduces Lolium rigidum seed numbers, seed viability, and seedling fitness. Aust J Agric Res 57:133141
Thill, DC, O’Donovan, JT, Mallory-Smith, CA (1994) Integrated weed management strategies for delaying herbicide resistance in wild oats. Phytoprotection 75:6170
Tidemann, BD, Hall, LM, Harker, KN, Alexander, BCS (2016) Identifying critical control points in the wild oat (Avena fatua) life cycle and the potential effects of harvest weed-seed control. Weed Sci 64:463473
Tidemann, BD, Hall, LM, Harker, KN, Beckie, HJ (2017a) Factors affecting weed seed devitalization with the Harrington Seed Destructor. Weed Sci 65:650658
Tidemann, BD, Hall, LM, Harker, KN, Beckie, HJ, Johnson, EN, Stevenson, FC (2017b) Suitability of wild oat (Avena fatua), false cleavers (Galium spurium), and volunteer canola (Brassica napus) for harvest weed seed control in western Canada. Weed Sci 65:769777
Walsh, M, Newman, P, Powles, S (2013) Targeting weed seeds in-crop: a new weed control paradigm for global agriculture. Weed Technol 27:431436
Walsh, MJ, Harrington, RB, Powles, SB (2012) Harrington Seed Destructor: a new nonchemical weed control tool for global grain crops. Crop Sci 52:13431347
Walsh, MJ, Powles, SB (2007) Management strategies for herbicide-resistant weed populations in Australian dryland crop production systems. Weed Technol 21:332338
Weed Clipper (2019) BTT Weed Clipper. Accessed: October 4, 2019
Zhang, T, Johnson, EN, Mueller, TC, Willenborg, CJ (2017) Early application of harvest aid herbicides adversely impacts lentil. Agron J 109:239248


Time of wild oat (Avena fatua) panicle clipping influences seed viability

  • Breanne D. Tidemann (a1), K. Neil Harker (a1), Eric N. Johnson (a2), Christian J. Willenborg (a3) and Steve J. Shirtliffe (a4)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.