Promoting Canadian Oats

Pest management, including control of weeds, insects and diseases is an essential requirement for oat production in western Canada. Integrated pest management, the use of multiple methods of pest control is the cost effective and reduces the selection of pesticide resistance.

Pest management is linked to both variety selection and agronomy. Variety selection is a key factor in protecting the crop from diseases, while agronomy is essential for the management of weeds.

Cereal staging

Accurate crop staging is essential to ensure crop safety and the optimal performance of crop protection products and agronomic supplements including herbicides, insecticides, in-crop applications of Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN), plant growth regulators (PGRs) and foliar fungicides.

Cereal staging is similar for oat, wheat and barley crops. The Ontario agriculture website has excellent photographs and description of how to stage cereals using the Zadocs scale (A Field Guide to Cereal Staging), while Alberta has developed a BBCH staging guide (Cereal Staging Guide) (Figure 4.1). Both have excellent photographs to guide growers to locate the main stem and to determine the stage of your cereal crop.

Growth stages overlap because each tiller can be at a different growth stage. Accurate staging is based on the main stem, which has the most advanced development. Staging is not based on the average of all tillers.

Tillers Separated GS 33-34. Individual plants should be separated into their fillers. If it is challenging to determine if you are dealing with multiple plants or simply individual tillers, remember you will find one seed per plant. The main stem is the most developed and largest stem. It will be the focus of your staging activities.

Main Stem View GS 33-34. Discard tillers and focus staging efforts on main stem. In this photo, there are 4 leaves with the 4th leaf just unrolling. At GS 33, node 3 is at least 2 cm above node 2. At GS 34, node 4 is at least 2 cm above node 2. Nodes can be found by cutting the base of the stem lengthwise.

Figure 4.1. An example of crop staging from the Cereal Staging Guide, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

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Menzies, J.G., Xue, A., Gruenke, J., Dueck, R., Deceuninck, S. and Chen, Y., 2019. Virulence of Puccinia coronata var avenae f. sp. avenae (oat crown rust) in Canada during 2010 to 2015. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, pp.1-13.