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Planting Oat in South Dakota

South Dakota (SD) is a leading oat producer in the United States. In 2014, 9.3 million bushels of grain were harvested from 100,000 acres (USDA-NASS). Oat is generally grown for grain and forage, and only spring type oat is adapted in SD.

Oat is a cool season crop that responds well in cooler climates. Planting is recommended early in the spring or as soon as the ground can be worked. Minimum germination temperatures are about 35F, however, slightly higher soil temperature can speed-up germination and emergence. Planting early provides cooler climate for maximum tiller and panicle production. This practice also helps avoid high temperature stress during seed fill which can lead to smaller seed size. Optimum seeding dates for oat in SD can range from late March to late April (south to north).

Producing a successful crop starts with variety selection. Certified seed usually assures a crop with desired yield, quality and other agronomic characteristics. In addition to yield and quality, improved varieties also possess tolerance to common diseases and pests. Performance of common varieties and advanced breeding lines can be found in the iGrow Oat Variety Trial Results.

Seeding rates for grain production can vary from 2 to 2.5 bushels per acre depending upon the seed size. Rate can be marginally increased if seeding deep, late or into a rough seedbed. On the other hand, seed rate can be slightly decreased if planting in low moisture ground. Similar seeding rates can be used for forage production (cultivar may differ). Recommended seeding depths are 1.5 to 2.5; seeding deeper than 2.5 inches may lead to significant stand reduction. When making a fertility management plan, a fall soil test and N credit from the previous crop is strongly recommended, which may vary depending on the yield goal. For instance, to grow 100 bu/ac oat, recommended N is: 1.3 x 100 (yield goal) – STN (soil test N) – LC (legume credit). For fields grown to soybeans in the previous season 40 lb. N/ ac are credited. For fertility details, please refer to the SDSU Extension Fertilizer Recommendations Guide.

More Information
Information on oat production and management can be found in the following resources:

Source: David Karki, South Dakota State University 

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