Ram Oats are an improved variety which is quick to establish, very cold tolerant, rust resistant, and great for early fall forage and forage throughout the winter. If you have grown an older variety such as Buck Forage Oats or Bob Oats – this variety would be a great option to consider based on a routinely increase of 20-30% in grain yield and pasture proven to be ready for grazing sooner.
Plant Ram Oats as early as September and October for exceptional early fall forage, lasting through the winter. You can interseed Hancock’s Pasture Ryegrass for cool-season forage lasting through April – may in most areas. Yields of up to 10,000-15,000lbs of quality forage, and dry matter have been found in trials throughout the Southeast United States.
This seed has been included in University of Florida trials and is compared to the older varieties such as the Buck Forage Oat and the Coker Oats. You can see the comparison pictures and more information here.
Benefits of Oats
- Quick, weed-suppressing Biomass
- Takes up excess soil nutrients
- Smother Crop
- Fall legume nurse crop
- Low-cost, reliable fall cover
Oats are a cool-season annual grass that is a cost effective, reliable fall cover crop and has been used for many years. Oats are quite an adaptable and affordable crop that provides many benefits to farmers. Some of these benefits include: forage, weed suppression, erosion control, etc.
Best soil and growing conditions for oats
Oats prefer soils that are well drained and moderate fertility. Oats also grow best when the soil pH is 4.5-6. For maximum cover crop benefit, oats should be planted six to ten weeks prior to any frost.
Pests and Diseases
Oats are less prone to insect problems than wheat or barley. If Oats are being grown for grain or for forage – Armyworms, various grain aphids and mites, wireworms, cutworms, thrips, leafhoppers, grubs and billbugs could present occasional problems.
Oat roots contain Allelopathic (Naturally occurring herbicidal) compounds and residue which can hinder weed growth for a few weeks. These compounds in the roots can also slow germination in crops such as lettuce, timothy, peas, wheat, and rice. Minimize these effects by waiting at least three weeks after oat killing before sowing these crops.
Some resistant oat varieties can minimize rusts, smuts and blights – if they are a concern in your area or for your crop system.
Oats Growing Climate
Oats grow well in cool, moist climates, and they are able to tolerate mild forsts. Oats are quite adaptable and can be grown in most of the United States. Oats can be planted in the fall for optimal germination.
Using Oats as grazing
Oats that are planted for cattle forage are typically planted with Grain Rye, Ryegrass and rape, turnips, radish or kale. With good moisture, oats can be ready to graze in approximately six to eight weeks after emergence.
Using Oats as a Cover Crop
Oats are a universal nurse crop and can be planted with slower growing perennial legumes such as (alfalfa, clover, etc) or brassicas. Oats can protect these plants from frost damage and help suppress weed competition.
Oats mature in approximately 60 days, and they can help prevent soil erosion in the short planting windows. Oat may prove especially valuable as a winterlong cover. Typically, oats winterkill with hard frosts and then they leave a thick residue. This provides a great soil-protecting mulch and insulator if planted with an overwintering crop like Alfalfa.
Oats for Food Plots
Oats are an extremely attractive addition to any food plot that is grown in the cooler months. This is also a popular choice for hunters that like to plant cereal grains such as grain rye. Deer can visit plots of oats for a larger amount of time but the first two months after germination are the most attractive time for deer. Oats planted in food plots for deer can be planted with legumes such as clover or peas and brassicas such as turnips, radish, kale or rape.
Oats for hay production
Oats are great for hay production and should be planted in the early fall for hay. When planting Oats for hay – plant 100lbs per acre. The fertilization for the oats will vary depending on the soil nutrients and a soil test is recommended.
Planting and Maintaining
Oats can be either broadcasted or drilled with good success. Drilling the oats will provide the best results thought. If you are drilling the oats – drill them to a depth of ½ to ¾ inch. When drilling, the seeding rate should be 80-100lbs per acre and broadcasted at a rate of 90-150lbs. Oats are planted in the fall for optimal germination and growth.