Smith said some considerations growers should be aware of include:
•The optimum nitrogen application rate is 40 to 50 pounds per acre, which produces the highest yields and is the most cost effective rate.
•The optimum combination of productivity and quality of August planted oats arrives 60 to 75 days after planting. Oats planted in July mature more quickly thanks to the heat, with declines in quality typically beginning 50 to 60 days after planting.
•Oats harvested 50 to 60 days after planting and while still in the boot stage of maturity may offer some regrowth that could be grazed.
•Growers should apply glyphosate before planting as a cost-effective way to control weeds.
•Growers can capture the total tonnage produced in a single harvest cut in late fall if grazing is not an option.
•With harvest typically being in November, grazing typically is the most effective and affordable alternative.
While strip grazing is the preferred method of harvest, Smith says, growers have other options including:
Baling oats. This is a challenge considering that oats dry only about half as fast as grass hay. In some cases, oats are taking nearly a week after being cut before they are dry enough to properly wet-wrap and ensile. Dropping them on wet soils doesn't enhance the drying or curing process.
Wet-wrapping. Using an in-line bale wrapper/tuber is less expensive per ton than individually wrapped bales if the equipment is available locally, but unless done properly might result in more storage loss than wet-wrapping individual bales.
Let the oats stand until they freeze. When a few days after dry frozen weather arrives, mow them, rake them and bale them quickly after they've essentially dried and cured while standing.
Chopping and ensiling. If grazing standing oats is not an option, chopping and ensiling may be the best alternative that remains for harvest. This offers advantages over baling or wet-wrapping, with the issue of curing the plants for dry harvest becoming a moot point. Chopping and ensiling into either a permanent structure or bags is also likely less expensive than wet-wrapping individual bales.
Source: OSU Extension