The increasing occurrence of herbicide resistance, along with no new herbicide modes of action developed in over 30 yr, have increased the need for nonherbicidal weed management strategies and tactics. Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) practices have been successfully adopted in Australia to manage problematic weeds. For HWSC to be effective, a high proportion of weed seeds must be retained on the plant at crop maturity. This 2-yr (2014, 2015) study evaluated seed shatter of wild oat, green foxtail, wild mustard, and cleavers in both an early (field pea) and late (spring wheat) maturity crop in field experiments at Scott, Saskatchewan. Seed shatter was assessed using shatter trays collected once a week during crop ripening stage, as well as at two crop maturation or harvest stages (swathing, direct-combining). Seed shatter differed among weed species, but was similar between crops at maturity: ca. 30% for wild oat, 5% for cleavers, < 2% for wild mustard, and < 1% for green foxtail. Overall, seed shatter of wild oat occurred sooner and at greater levels during the growing season compared with the other weed species. Viability of both shattered and plant-retained seeds was relatively high for all species. The small amount of seed shatter of cleavers, wild mustard, and green foxtail suggests that these species may be suitable candidates for HWSC. Due to the amount and timing of wild oat seed shatter, HWSC may not reduce population abundance of this grassy weed.
Nomenclature: Cleavers, Galium spp. (false cleavers, G. spurium L. GALSP; and catchweed bedstraw, G. aparine L. GALAP); green foxtail, Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv. SETVI; wild mustard, Sinapis arvensis L. SINAR; wild oat, Avena fatua L. AVEFA; field pea, Pisum sativum L.; spring wheat, Triticum aestivum L.