The key to a weed-free oat field is good timing. Farmer Ian ran a weeder through the field at just the right time, shortly after germination when the oats had roots just deep enough to hold onto the soil. Smaller weeds were cultivated out, and this gave the oats the head start they needed to win the competition of crop vs. weed.
Farmer Pete recalls how Farmer Halsey, now retired, was meticulous about the timing of his plantings and weedings. If a field were harrowed in preparation for plating, but then weather or other circumstances delayed the plating by even two days, it was back to the harrow again, in order to stifle any new weeds before planting. When it comes to weeds, it’s much easier to start right than play catch-up later.