Knowledge Hub Article

Wild Oats - Are wild-oats still a problem in the UK?

Wild Oats were the major weeds of arable crops in the late 1970’s largely due to a move to more intensive arable cropping and the lack of effective herbicides.  

The availability of more effective herbicides in the 1980’s meant that wild-oats became viewed as less important than other, more difficult to control, grassweeds such as Black-grass.  The heavy and increasing use of herbicides for Black-grass control generally resulted in good control of the easier-to-kill Wild Oats.   However, if post-emergence herbicides cease to be used for black-grass control due to high levels of resistance, one consequence may be that wild-oat populations will increase again.  Pre-emergence herbicides tend to give limited control of Wild Oats because many plants emerge in spring and resistance to many post-emergence herbicides occurs widely.  Thus, even low populations of Wild Oats should not be ignored.