they’ve now become a high-quality and very productive forage crop! Walk into the crop and check a number of areas of the paddock. Many processors recommend cutting at this stage as quality declines significantly after the water ripe stage. Oat can be planted in late winter through early spring for use as forage or hay and offer some help for increasing a short forage supply. The recommended planting rates are 25 – 50 kg KEY: / ha dryland and 50 – 75 kg / ha irrigated. Oats can springboard cover crops off to a good start after harvest in late July or August. The forage also helps nix erosion by covering the soil longer into the growing season. It’s August and fall is just around the corner. Typically, two-thirds of the oats planted are harvested for grain and the rest is grown primarily for forage/hay. Many producers plant field peas with oats or another small grain as an annual forage crop. This oat hay produces a high protein feed suitable for cattle, horses and sheep. Drill three to four bushels into new fields for hay. In addition to being a favored spring-planted companion or cover crop for forage seedings, they have historically been harvested as a cash grain crop. The oats are planted in the spring of the year and cut and harvested for hay in the early summer. Oats are sometimes grazed, but the main use is for hay and silage, fulfilling an important role as feed for livestock operations in the Northern Great Plains of North America. If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. Oats for grain generally are harvested with a combine. Export markets demand bright green, dry hay. When oats are grown for hay or silage, fertility recommendations are similar to those for grain production -- 75-125 lbs of nitrogen per acre. Also, don't suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures. The grain should not contain more than 13 percent moisture for safe storage. Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized. By Steve Barnhart, Department of Agronomy Oats have been an important crop in Iowa. For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage. Or, oats planted under irrigation can be cut for hay early enough to permit double cropping to soybeans or a summer annual forage crop or even to corn for silage. or increase hay and silage production. Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages. Even flying oats onto corn fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flying on seed. By Angela Lovell Contributor . Once the kernels are ripe, you can thresh out the oats. Fall grown oats have great potential, but results can be highly variable from year to year, and two weather-related factors appear to be critical for maximizing yields. Optimum-planting time for forage oats is from late March to Early April. Some oat varieties do not meet the exporters standard and therefore will not be accepted for delivery. "However, growth and vigor are typically greater where pre-plant tillage is used." Rain over 12mm on cut hay may drastically downgrade it compared to hay left standing for an extra two weeks. Then, lay the oat seeds 1/4 inches apart in rows. In recent years, as market demands and cropping systems have changed, oats are more often being harvested as hay or silage for livestock. UNL web framework and quality assurance provided by the, Apply to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Give to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Explore Beef (The People. Take the top floret and squeeze between the tops of your fingers. Some producers plant a mixture of oats … Pull any weeds that pop up as the oats grow. Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day. Mow and c a remove oatosot stage o at b graze lightly whr n e oats are 10 inches high. ), The National Academies Press: Agriculture. Certain precautions should be taken to store oats away from rodents, and … growing conditions are highly digestible and often contain 80%–85% moisture (15%–20% dry matter). For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage. There are specific requirements for hay for the export market that are different to usual on-farm requirements. This article appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Hay & Forage Grower on page 30. Spread out a tarp or sheet and then either stomp the oats loose from the stalks (cover the oats first before tromping all over them) or use some other implement, like a plastic baseball bat, to thresh the oats from the stalks (chaff). following hail damage or an early frost). Research has shown that the optimum time for cutting oaten hay is at the watery ripe stage (Z71), the earliest stage of milk development.