Information Sheet - Oats in Ontario Field Crops

Eastern Canada cover crop selector tool

Planting Information
Drilled Seeding Depth ½-1 inch [0.6-2.5 cm]
Drilled Seeding Rate 50-100 lb/ac [56-112 kg/ha]
Broadcast and incorporated rate should be 10 - 20% higher than drilled rate. Increase seeding rate in late fall.
Aerial seeding rate Recommended at least 25% higher than drilled rate.
Seeds per lb 19600 (metric: 43200)
Frost Seed No
Termination Information
Termination Methods Freeze, Tillage, Herbicide
Termination Comments If terminating with only tillage, multiple passes often required
Performance Roles
Legume Nitrogen Source Poor
N scavenger + N holder Excellent
Organic matter/soil builder Excellent
Compaction Fighter Fair
Water Erosion Fighter Very Good
Wind Erosion Fighter Very Good
Weed Fighter Very Good
Winter Survival Never
Winter Kill Never
Quick Growth Excellent
Lasting Residue Very Good
Quick Residue Breakdown Poor - Mature crops are slower to decompose. Manage termination accordingly.
Potential Biofumigant Poor
Forage Harvest Very Good
Seed Harvest Good
Interseed with Cash Crop Excellent
Total Nitrogen 0 [N/A]
Dry Matter per year 2000-6000 lb/ac [2250-6700 kg/ha] - Dry matter and N content depends on amount of crop growth and maturity.
Comments Prone to lodging in N-rich soil; decomposition depends on maturity at kill; Lasting residue increases as cover crop approaches maturity
Cultural Traits
Scientific Name Avena sativa
Life Cycle Cool Season Annual
Growth Habit Upright
Prefered Soil pH 4.5-8.0
Relative Costs (per area) 0
Min. Germination Temp. 38F/3C
Heat Tolerance Fair
Drought Tolerance Good
Shade Tolerance Good
Flood Tolerance Good
Low Fertility Tolerance Very Good
Comments Certain varieties of oats can survive the winter
Potential Advantages, these are general, tentative ratings
Loosen subsoil Fair
Makes P&K more available to crops Poor
Loosens Topsoil Very Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Nematodes Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Disease Good, check for specific diseases
Weed Control - Allelopathy Good
Weed Control - Chokes Weeds Excellent
Attracts Beneficials Fair
Takes foot or vehicle traffic Very Good
Short Windows Excellent, growth in a short time period
Comments Cleaned, bin-run seed will suffice; Tolerates cold temperatures. Non host for root knot nematode, soybean cyst nematode and sugarbeet cyst nematode.
Potential Disadvantages (these are general ratings)
Volunteer Establishment (includes hard seed) Rarely a problem
Weed Potential Rarely a problem, includes hard seed, likelihood to produce seed or survive termination
Insects/Nematodes/Slugs Could be a minor problem
Crop Disease Could be a minor problem, check for specific diseases
Establishment Challenges Rarely a problem
Challenges incorporating mature residues Could be a minor problem
Comments Tolerates cold temperatures; Slow to release N to following crop unless growth terminated in mid-vegetative stage (12-18 in.). Host for Penetrans Root-Lesion Nematode.

The ability to achieve goals depends on appropriate situation and proper management.