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Oats will winter kill in most of zone 7 or colder. In cold climates zone 7 and cooler, sow in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked.
Oats have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals, such as wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers, such as Northwest Europe and even Iceland.
Spring Planting Seeding rate depends on your intended use: medium to high rates for a spring green manure and weed suppressor, low rates for mixtures or as a legume companion crop. Higher rates may be needed for wet soils or thicker ground cover. Excessive fertility can encourage lodging, but if you’re growing oats just for its cover value, that can be an added benefit for weed suppression and moisture conservation.
Late-Summer, Early-Fall Planting For a winter killed cover, spring oats usually are seeded in late summer or early fall in Zone 7 or colder. Time seeding to allow at least six to 10 weeks of cool-season growth. Broadcasting or over seeding will give the best results for the least cost, unless seeding into heavy residue. Cleaned, bin-run seed will suffice. If broadcasting and you want a thick winter killed mulch, seed at the highest locally recommended rate (probably 3 to 4 bushels per acre) at least 40 to 60 days before your area ’s first killing frost. Assuming adequate moisture for quick germination, the stand should provide some soil-protecting, weed-suppressing mulch. Disk lightly to incorporate. In many regions, you’ll have the option of letting it winter kill or sending in cattle for some fall grazing.
If seeding oats as a fall nurse crop for a legume, a low rate (1 to 2 bushels per acre) works well. If drilling oats, seed at 2 to 3 bushels per acre 1/2 to 1 inch deep, or 1-1/2 inches when growing grain you plan to harrow for weed control. Shallow seeding in moist soil provides rapid emergence and reduces incidence of root rot disease.
Timing is critical when you want plenty of biomass or a thick ground cover. As a winter cover following soybeans in the Northeast or Midwest, over seeding spring oats at the leaf-yellowing or early leaf-drop stage, and with little residue present, can give a combined ground cover as high as 80 percent through early winter. If you wait until closer to or after soybean harvest, however, you’ll obtain much less oat biomass to help retain bean residue, Iowa and Pennsylvania studies have shown.
Delaying planting by as little as two weeks in late summer also can reduce the cover’s effectiveness as a spring weed fighter, a study in upstate New York showed. By spring, oat plots that had been planted on August 25 had 39% fewer weed plants and one-seventh the weed biomass of control plots with no oat cover, while oats planted two weeks later had just 10 percent fewer weed plants in spring and 81 percent of the weed biomass of control plots
Winter Planting As a fall or winter cover crop in Zone 8 or warmer, seed oats at low to medium rates. You can kill winter-planted oats with spring plowing, or with herbicides in reduced-tillage systems.
Oats will winter kill in most of zone 7 or colder. As a winter killed cover, just light disking in spring will break up the brittle oat residue. That exposes enough soil for warming and timely planting. Or, no-till directly into the mulch, as the residue will decompose readily early in the season. Otherwise, kill by mowing or spraying soon after the vegetative stage, such as the milk or soft dough stage. In no-till systems, rolling/crimping will also work, best at dough stage or later.
Moderately fertile soil gives the best stands. Oats are the least winter hardy and drought resistant of all small grain species. Oats can be grown on a wide range of soil types and can tolerate a wider pH range then wheat or barley. Oats have a fair salinity tolerance, but still less tolerant than barley. Oats do not do well in hot, dry climates. Oats tolerate cold or waterlogged soils better than barley but not as well as rye.
The oats will increase the dry matter yield and boost the total protein but, because of its relatively high nitrogen content, could pose a nitrate-poisoning threat to livestock, especially if you delay harvesting until oats are nearing the flowering stage. The climbing growth habit of some vine legumes such as vetch can contribute to lodging and make oat grain harvest difficult. If you’re growing the legume for seed, the oats can serve as a natural trellis that eases combining.
Allelopathic, naturally occurring herbicidal, compounds in oat roots and residue can hinder weed growth for a few weeks. These compounds also can slow germination or root growth of some subsequent crops, such as lettuce, cress, timothy, rice, wheat and peas. Minimize this effect by waiting three weeks after oat killing before seeding a susceptible crop, or by following with an alternate crop. Rotary hoeing or other pre-emerge mechanical weeding of solo-seeded oats can improve annual broadleaf control.
Oats are less prone to insect problems than wheat or barley. If you’re growing oats for grain or forage, armyworms, various grain aphids and mites, wireworms, cutworms, thrips, leafhoppers, grubs and billbugs could present occasional problems. Resistant oat varieties can minimize rusts, smuts and blights if they are a concern in your area or for your cropping system. Cover crops such as oats help reduce root-knot nematodes and vegetable crop diseases caused by Rhizoctonia, results of a producer study in South Carolina show, although brassicas are better. To reduce harmful nematodes that oats could encourage, avoid planting oats two years in a row or after nematode-susceptible small grains such as wheat, rye or triticale.
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Grows to 2–4’. The vigorous growth of oats tends to choke out most weeds. Oats are commonly grown for high quality grazing and forage production. With dense fibrous roots reaching 33-77" into the soil profile, oats can produce an easier seed bed for the proceeding crop. Spring oats sown with a legume, provide ha...
Grows to 2–4’. The vigorous growth of oats tends to choke out most weeds. Oats are commonly grown for high quality grazing and forage production. With dense fibrous roots reaching 33-77" into the soil profile, oats can produce an easier seed bed for the proceeding crop. Spring oats sown with a legume, provide hay or grain and excellent straw in the Northern U.S., while the legume remains as a summer or later cover crop. There’s also a hay option with a fast-growing legume if you harvest when oats are in the dough stage.
Our variety is Cayuse. It is a short, stiff-strawed, relatively early maturing oat originally from New York but also released by Washington, Idaho, and Montana. It generally produces excellent yields in Utah and other Western States. It has yellow grain and a medium test weight. It is susceptible to gray speck in northern Idaho. Cayuse is adapted over a wide area. Averaged 163.4 bushels of grain per acre under irrigation in 3 year testing.
A tea or tincture fresh green milky oat seeds may help calm nerves and alleviate tobacco and opium addictions. The seed is a mealy nutritive herb that is an antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, emollient, nervine and stimulant. A decoction strained into a bath will help to soothe itchiness and eczema.Tags: Specialty: Cover Crop, Season: Spring Fall, Certification: Organic.
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We promote fair trade, organic practices and environmental responsibility throughout the Restoration Seeds supply chain. Below are the family farmers and seed suppliers who bring our open pollinated seeds to you.