After this years spring crop I have decided having any plant that makes a head in August just doesn’t succeed in my part of the world. I have talked with some farmers around us and they say that oats have been grown before and in thinking about giving it a try. However, I know very little about the lifecycle and working needed for success. Could I please have some advice on what seeding dates, plants lifecycle, soil, weather, yields and harvesting methods are necessary. Also I understand that sometimes oats are for human consumption and something for hay. What determines this difference?
We grow oats for feed for cattle and horses. Oats is the first crop we plant, you can plant it early just like wheat. Oats doesn't require much Nitrogen, just some starter. Generally we can get about 100 bu./A There really isn't much chemicals labeled for oats in the U.S. because most oats is grown in Canada now days. Most wheat chemicals work though, as long as they don't kill wild oats. haha. We always swath oats and then pick it up with the combine. This year the grain was ripe and the top six inches of the stalk were dead brown but the rest was grass green, so swathing is about the only option there. You can cut it a little green to prevent shelling with the swather. Some guys straight cut it but in our area that is hard to do with oats. Just make sure you have a market for it, some elevators probably won't want to handle it.
I have a question, if you cut the oats prior to heading out, will it continue to grow until it makes a head?