Oats are one of the most widely grown grains in the United States, as they are used to feed livestock and make oatmeal, breads, and other baked goods. However, not all oats are created equal. There are three major categories of oats: spring oats, winter oats, and hulled oats.
Spring oats are planted in late April or early May and harvested in August or September. They produce large yields but have a relatively short growing season. Winter oats have a longer growing season than spring oats but typically produce smaller yields than spring oats do. Hulled oats have a shorter growing period than either of the above types of oats do, but they also produce smaller yields than other types of oats do.
Oats are a cereal crop that is used to make oatmeal, rolled oats, and oat bran. Oats are also used as livestock feed and can be used as a cover crop. The most common use of oats is for human consumption. Oats are often grown as a companion crop with wheat or barley because they fix nitrogen into the soil that is beneficial to the growing crops.
How much nitrogen to apply per acre for oats depends on the variety you are planting and its seeding rate. You may want to plant 50 to 100 pounds per acre in spring and use at least 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre for conventional planting. Adding 50 to 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre is recommended in the spring, especially if you plan to weed and graze the crop. Oats can produce 4,000 to 5,000 pounds per acre. They can be grazed or hayed to increase yields.
In calculating seeding rates for oats, a farmer should consider their target plant population and the number of seeds per square foot. A general rule of thumb is to seed between five and eight pounds per square foot. Depending on the variety, seed weight, and moisture, farmers can adjust these numbers to achieve the desired plant density and yield potential. Adding more peas to the mixture will increase lodging and slow the growth rate, with little benefit to the quality of the finished crop.
Several studies have investigated seeding rates for oats, including a case study in Wisconsin. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin Arlington Research Station compared different oat-barley mixtures with peas. In both years, they planted small grains at a rate of two to four bu/acre. Oats tended to have lower CP than radish and turnip tops, but the proportion of Trapper peas increased forage quality. However, these results were not significant enough to make a definitive recommendation.
A comparison of spring pea and oat-spring pea mixtures revealed that oat-spring pea monocultures produced more forage biomass than mixtures and had a higher nutritional value. Seeding rates for both plants were comparable, although the amount of forage biomass yields varied, especially in year two. It is important to remember that weed pressure affects forage production in year two.
In Wisconsin, plant dates can affect fall forage production. Coblentz and Mochon (2010) examined planting dates and their effects on oat and barley performance. In general, plant dates during the early fall improve forage quality, yield, and TDN. However, early September planting dates are better for grazing and harvest. In Wisconsin, plant dates during the early fall tend to be more profitable and yield-enhancing.
For spring-planted oats, the best time to plant is mid-July to early-August. The plants will produce two to three tons per acre when the weather conditions are favorable. To increase yields, apply nitrogen fertilizer at 60 pounds per acre. Also, plant young oats before seedheads appear in late spring. However, turn under should be completed at least three weeks before sowing seeds.
In central Wisconsin, the optimum planting dates for oats depend on the year, latitude, and weather conditions. However, in the late spring, planting small grains after the first possible date can result in yield depression. Hence, late-season planting is difficult to recommend. In addition, the availability of alternative crops makes them economically viable. In the spring, Minnesota’s hard red spring wheat yield was the third highest on record.
When planting oats, the best practice is to drill the seeds about half an inch deep. Depending on the variety and the region, the depth can vary from 0.5 to 1 inch. A lower seeding rate is acceptable if the plant will be grazed and/or hayed later. In either case, the rate should be between 60 and 100 pounds per acre. Whether you choose drill-planted oats or broadcast-planted oats, you must remember to plant them at a shallow depth to reduce weeds.
A spring-planted oat will mature quickly when temperatures warm. It will provide approximately 35-60 days of grazing for mature cattle. A field of peas should contain 40 to 60 pounds of peas per acre. This amount will increase yields by as much as 20%. When seeding peas, remember to reduce the oats seeding rate by 20 percent or more. The ratio of peas to oats is recommended for 40 to 60 pounds of peas per acre.
Spring oats are a popular choice because of their high nutrient content. Sprouts germinate at temperatures around forty degrees Fahrenheit. Soil moisture levels and temperature play a role in determining how quickly oats develop. Oats should be planted at least six to ten weeks before the first frost. These plants do best with the soil temperature between 38 degrees Fahrenheit and forty degrees.
Fertilizing with nitrogen
A significant portion of the nutrient requirement of oats is nitrogen. Oats benefit from reduced tillage and no-till practices, and also respond well to enhanced water infiltration and snow trapping. Nitrogen is the most yield-limiting nutrient in western Canada, and the rate of addition of nitrogen may vary greatly from year to year. In-season precipitation and soil moisture can change nitrogen requirements considerably.
The N response is largely dependent on moisture levels, and the more moisture the soil has, the higher the yield. To achieve a 100 bushel yield per acre of oats, you should apply between 97 and 117 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre of land. But the N must be applied evenly, and the rate may vary by variety. In drier years, applying nitrogen through granular fertilisers may be less effective than foliar applications. However, higher rates of N application can improve yields.
One way to boost yields is to fertilize oats with nitrogen. A 50-pound-per-acre application of nitrogen boosts yield, crude protein content, and total digestible nutrients. However, plant oats into September as this results in a reduction of half a ton per acre. Additionally, harvesting oats this late will make it more expensive to mechanically harvest them. However, you can always graze livestock on late-planted oats.
Mixing oats with legumes
Some farmers use oats as a catch crop after plowdowns of legumes in the summer. These grains hold nitrogen in the soil over winter, but some is lost through denitrification in the atmosphere and leaching from the soil profile. Farmers who plan to overwinter legumes should combine oats with the overwintering crops. Other farmers find that a mix of oats and legumes is beneficial for soil health.
Oats provide numerous benefits. They germinate rapidly and outcompete weeds. They also provide an allelopathic residue to the soil, which hinders the germination of many other crops. Oats also increase the biomass and fertilizer replacement value of legumes. Oats also reduce weed growth and winterkill in many areas. They also contribute to legume winter survival. In addition, they are quick-growing and have low lodging potential.
Several types of legumes are considered complementary proteins. These grains and legumes contain cysteine and methionine, while lentils provide lysine. Whole grains have the highest nutritional value and are better for your body. They are also less common than beans or lentils, but you can still find recipes that combine these two sources of protein. And the combination of lentils and oats is great for a quick and nutritious meal.
When it comes to forage quality, planting oats in the fall is an excellent choice. The fall planting window is relatively wide, and many of the forage quality characteristics are not sensitive to plant growth stage. For example, oats grow much better than sorghums in cooler weather, and they are more tolerant of hard frost. In addition, peas add a higher quality forage to cereals without increasing yields.
Cultivar selection has little effect on forage quality, and yield is the primary limitation. However, some farmers use high quality cattle to improve forage quality. ForagePlus has late maturity, which increases sugar accumulations. This type of forage has comparable protein digestibility to corn, and can be a good choice for those with low cattle feed needs. This method allows producers to plant two forage crops in one planting.
If spring-planted oats are not tillered, consider applying a fungicide during the seedling stage. This can help reduce rust in the harvested crop, which in turn can lead to poor forage quality. Fungicide is a cheap, effective way to ensure top forage yields. It can also help maintain soil moisture and prevent weeds in the growing stage. If you’re planning to plant oats in the fall, it’s important to note the seed quality and adjust your planting rates accordingly.