§ Mr. Michael Morris
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and. Food what consideration is being given to including wild oats in the Weeds Act 1959.
§ Mr. Strang
The Weeds Act 1959 provides power for my right hon. Friend to require an occupier of land within a specified time to take such action as may be necessary to prevent the spread of prescribed injurious weeds. Wild oat grows in cultivated crops and is introduced mainly by contaminated seed or straw. It is also present in the soil of most farms growing cereals. Eradication will therefore call for long and sustained effort, and the powers of the Weeds Act 675W would not offer an effective measure of control.
The Agricultural Departments, through the ADAS and the Scottish Agricultural Colleges in association with the Agricultural Research Council, the British Crop Protection Council, the Home Grown Cereals Authority, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the organisations representative of producers, merchants and the agricultural chemicals industry, have been co-operating since 1973 in an advisory programme designed to promote a wider awareness among farmers of the cost of harbouring wild oats and the best methods of eradication and subsequent control.