is part of the Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

  • American Agriculturist
  • Beef Producer
  • Corn and Soybean Digest
  • Dakota Farmer
  • Delta Farm Press
  • Farm Futures
  • Farm Industry news
  • Indiana Prairie Farmer
  • Kansas Farmer
  • Michigan Farmer
  • Missouri Ruralist
  • Nebraska Farmer
  • Ohio Farmer
  • Prairie Farmer
  • Southeast Farm Press
  • Southwest Farm Press
  • The Farmer
  • Wallaces Farmer
  • Western Farm Press
  • Western Farmer Stockman
  • Wisconsin Agriculturist
Harvesting And Using Oats For Forage

Harvesting And Using Oats For Forage

More of Iowa's oat acres are being used for forage, less for gain. One important decision farmers must make when using oats for forage is when to harvest the crop.

Oats have been an important crop in Iowa. In addition to being a favored spring-planted companion or cover crop for forage seedings, they have historically been harvested as a cash grain crop. However in recent years, as market demands and cropping systems have changed, oats are more often being harvested as hay or silage for livestock.

Figure 1.

One of the important decisions producers must make when using oats for forage is when to harvest the crop, says Steve Barnhart, Iowa State University Extension forage agronomist. This decision has several implications. Early removal of the cover crop from a new forage seeding reduces shade and moisture competition; a benefit to the new forage seedlings. And, harvest timing affects the forage yield and forage feeding value of the harvested corp.  

Producers often use visual traits of the developing oat crop when making harvest decisions, notes Barnhart.

The forage yield and forage feeding value of the harvested crop change as the oat plant matures through its growth stages, Barnhart explains. Note that these changes occur relatively quickly. Producers are encouraged to consider the nutrient requirements of the livestock being fed as a guide to timing of their oat forage harvest. 

 

For lactating dairy cattle, oat forages should be harvested as the first grain heads appear in a field (late boot stage), he says. Oat forage at this stage will provide a feed with more energy and similar protein levels to late-bud alfalfa and similar energy but higher protein content than corn silage. Many producers harvesting oats for feeding to gestating beef cows will delay harvest until the dough stage, to gain slightly more forage yield.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish