Oats - planting information and nutrition
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The optimum planting time for forage oats is from mid-March to June in southern Queensland, and early April to June in central Queensland. Very early plantings (January to early March) should be avoided to minimise the risk associated with leaf rust. Varieties with leaf rust resistance are suitable for a mid-March planting. Planting too early or late also reduces forage yield. Late planting will hasten maturity and reduce the potential for multiple grazing. However, late planting may be a suitable practice for hay production. Oats for grain and seed are best planted in May-June.
The optimum soil temperature for the germination and establishment of oats is between 15°C and 25°C. High soil temperatures (greater than 25°C) during the period from January to March will reduce seed germination and result in poor crop establishment.
The recommended planting rate for dryland crops is 40-60 kg/ha in southern Queensland and 25-40 kg/ha in central and western Queensland. The recommended planting rate for irrigated crops is 55-60 kg/ha.
Planting rates need to be adjusted for germination, seed size and percentage establishment in the field. Farmer-saved seed and carry-over seed from the previous season should be tested for germination prior to planting. There are about 50 000 seed/kg, but always check the seed container for the correct seed size and germination rate.
If sowing is delayed until after the optimum date, use rates at the higher end of the range to compensate for reduced yield. For hay crops that have finer stems use higher seeding rates.
Oat seed is best sown at 50-75 mm depth in 18-25 cm row spacing into moist soil in a well prepared seedbed.
Forage oats will grow on most soils but will not provide good recovery on acid soils, or wet soils that develop aluminium and manganese toxicities. Most oat varieties grown on poor soil (e.g. low in nitrogen) could develop red tipping (see below) on the leaves and this may result in below optimum yields.
Nutrition requirements and fertiliser rates are similar to those recommended for wheat nutrition. Starter fertiliser at sowing is recommended, but should be applied separate to the seed as the fertiliser can damage the seed and reduce its germination (e.g. DAP at 100 kg/ha will provide sufficient nitrogen (N) for establishment and phosphorus for the duration of the crop).
Suggested safe rates (kg/ha) of some nitrogen fertiliser products sown with oat seed at planting:
|Row spacing||Maximum N rate||Urea||Crop King 700 or GF405||DAP||MAP||GF460|
An application of nitrogen between grazing or cutting (20 to 40 units of N/ha) will increase the speed of plant recovery, reduce tiller death and increase overall forage yield.
The following legumes are often sown with winter cereals:
(traprock, granite, sandstone)
|Namoi woolly pod vetch||2-10|
|Black soil||Snail medic||1-2|
|Namoi woolly pod vetch||2-10|
|Popany purple vetch||10-20|
|Blanchfleur common vetch||10-20|
Avoid using Namoi woolly pod vetch on land intended for grain crops because of the very high levels of hard seed, and its capacity to regenerate in future seasons. Blanchfleur and popany can be affected by severe frosts.
Red tipped leaf is an extreme form of foliar disorder in oats. It is associated with deficiency in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and sulfur in the soil. Nitrogen deficiency is the most common cause. The reddish colour, seen mostly on mature leaves, is caused by the presence of anthocyanin. The intensity of the redness varies with the season. Early stages of the disorder show light yellow veins running parallel to the mid-rib of the leaf. This appears similar to herbicide damage (metsulfuron-methyl). The entire leaf surface may appear as light yellow in colour. In the later stages the tip turn red. In cold, dry winters the colour deepens to almost purple, while in mild, wet winters it is a more washed out orange-red. Affected plants are stunted and are less palatable for livestock.
Red tipping can be avoided by practising good crop nutrition. In paddocks with a history of this problem, increase nitrogen rates to 70-80kg N/ha and check whether other nutrients are adequate. Top dressing can be used to correct the problem but good rainfall after application is necessary, and as a consequence results can be erratic.
- Oat production in Queensland
- Oat disease management and weed control
- Oat varieties
- Oat seed production
- Oat planting information
- Oat grazing management and haymaking