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The Resistant Wild Oat Action Committee: a new initiative and resource for producers & agronomists

By Jeremy Boychyn (M.Sc)(P.Ag), Agronomy Research Extension Specialist 

Herbicide-resistant wild oat is increasing in prevalence across Western Canada. The last herbicide resistance survey (Beckie et al. 2020) indicates that 69% of wild oat fields have herbicide resistance. Additionally, 62% of those fields are resistant to Group 1 herbicides, 34% are resistant to Group 2 herbicides, and 27% are resistant to both Group 1 and Group 2 herbicides. These percentages have increased dramatically since the initial survey of herbicide-resistant wild oat in Western Canada occurred in 2000. At that point, the resistance to Group 1 herbicides was found in less than 20% of Alberta fields. 

In an attempt to curb the trend of increasing resistance a new committee, the Resistant Wild Oat Action Committee (RWOAC), was formed. A producer from the Daysland area of Alberta, along with retired weed scientist, Dr. Neil Harker, proposed the committee’s formation to the Canadian Weed Science Society (CWSS) with the intention of collectively engaging scientists, producers, and the agriculture industry. The hope would be that, through a collaborative effort, headway could be made on tackling the growing challenge of herbicide-resistant wild oat.

As of the 2021 growing season, the RWOAC is building an army of industry experts and producers determined to fight back against herbicide-resistant wild oats. Moving forward, the committee is looking to increase extension information on how to manage and mitigate the development of resistant wild oats, identify research gaps, engage in producer discussion on identifying potential management solutions, and increase prairie-wide awareness of herbicide-resistant wild oats through community-level discussion.

Even though the RWOAC is in the beginning stages of their initiative, they have already developed numerous infographics on resistance testing, how to reduce seed spread, scouting tactics and herbicide management. These infographics can be found here. RWOAC is also currently developing extension videos that will be available by the end of the season. You can keep up with RWOAC’s extension information by following their Twitter page @RWildOat.


Beckie, H.J., Shirriff, S.W., Leeson, J.Y., Hall, L.M., Harker, K.N., Dokken-Bouchard, F., and Brenzil, C.A. 2020. Herbicide-resistant weeds in the Canadian prairies: 2012 to 2017.  Weed Technology. 34(3): 461-474. DOI: