Better Manage Forage Oats this Winter

AUSTRALIA - Forage oats may be the ideal winter forage crop for Queensland, producing good quality feed when most pastures are dormant, but the time to plant is now.
calendar icon 1 March 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Heading into autumn, considered to be the optimum time for planting forage oats, the 2012 Forage oat variety guide has just been released by the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation with support from Meat and Livestock Australia.

The ability of forage oats to produce good quality feed when most pastures are dormant, make it the ideal winter forage crop for Queensland. The guide discusses the recommended management practices for growing oats for forage, and strategies to minimise leaf rust infection which significantly affected forage oat crops again in 2011. It also lists the current varieties of forage oats available for commercial sale in Queensland.

Key factors to increasing the level of productivity of oat crops include the use of improved varieties and better management practices.

In addition to identifying and managing leaf and stem rust, the guide outlines how to identify other diseases of oats such as bacterial blight, septoria blotch, barley yellow dwarf virus and red tipping.

Tips on growing oats for forage include:

  • Intermediate and late maturing varieties remain vegetative until late in the season and provide a longer duration of grazing for livestock.

  • Mid-March to June is considered the optimum planting time for forage oats in southern Queensland and early April to June in Central Queensland. Planting too early or too late can reduce forge yield.

  • The recommended planting rates are 40-60kg/ha in southern Queensland and 25-40kg/ha in Central and western Queensland. Planting rates should be adjusted for germination, seed size and percentage establishment in the field. There are approximately 50,000 seeds per kilogram, but always check the seed container for the correct size and germination rate.

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