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Beth wants to make a compelling blog post on spring oatmeal, but struggled with what to do. Here are some steps she actioned to help with her blog post goals.A unique species that grows very quickly after planting (typically ready for grazing after 45-55 days or for hay in 65-70 days), spring oats tolerate wet areas more than most winter annuals and help with root-knot nematode suppression. Plant this high yield, high-quality forage in the fall (Sept-Oct) or late winter (Feb-Mar). Fall planted oats provide forage at a time where we need it most, late fall and early winter. Spring oats can also be planted in late winter for quick spring grazing, baleage production, and even dry hay. Winter kill is an issue if temperatures reach the teens for several days. Consider planting spring oats with a cold-tolerant annual to ensure ground cover.
Spring oats can be planted in early August to mid-September, often after corn silage has been harvested if it was an early crop. The planting rate for oats is about 3 bushels per acre, and it is ideal to plant into a well prepared seedbed. Oats can be planted into crop residue if weeds are killed ahead of planting. They do not establish well when broadcast seeded. When seeding oats the producer should apply around 40 pounds of nitrogen, unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized. “Most people come to growing oats recognising their ability to take-off rapidly, scavenge nutrients well and compete with weeds better than any other spring cereal,” he points out. “But failure to understand their particular nutritional needs and growth and development pattern, amongst other things, can easily catch relatively new oat growers out. Spring oats need to pop-and-run,” says Mr van Heyzen.
As there is no current need to fight resistance in either of the two key oat diseases – mildew and crown rust, he sees a standard two-spray fungicide programme as quite sufficient in most cases, married to an appropriate PGR regime. Mr van Heyzen explains that oats are have shown themselves to be much more competitive against grassweeds than wheat or barley in all the company’s Stow Longa blackgrass research. However, he stresses that they need to establish well to be so. Add the relative lack of graminicide options and the importance of good clean pre-planting control and minimal soil movement at drilling to avoid waking-up weed seeds becomes clear. “The UK milling oat market continues to grow, with considerable potential for replacing imports,” concludes Mr van Heyzen. “Alongside this and a growing interest in the crop both as a wheat break and as part of an integrated black-grass management strategy, we are seeing encouragingly greater investment and progress in oat breeding these days. (Source: www.agrii.co.uk)