Monday, March 13, 2017

Sowing Oats - But Not the Wild Kind!

We sowed oats around here last week. But don't you get the wrong idea. There were no wild oats being sown.
Instead, Randy planted oats in an old alfalfa field. He used the disc to lightly break up the soil and to kill volunteer cheat and other weeds. Then, he planted the oats, using the same drill we use to plant wheat. Disking up the alfalfa wouldn't be a "normal" thing to do. But it's an old field, and this is its last "hurrah." It will be disked up after we harvest the oats/alfalfa combination.

It should provide a mixture of alfalfa and oats that we can bale up for cattle feed this summer.
We planted 2 bushels of oats per acre. A bushel of oats only weighs 32 pounds, compared to 60 pounds per bushel of wheat.
We hadn't planted any oats for quite some time. There's not a big market for oats in our area. We can't haul them to the grain elevator. But they will provide good feed for our cattle.
These are "haying" oats vs. "grain" oats. These will get taller than other varieties.
It will take a rain to get the oats started. (Of course, we need a rain on everything!)
Randy didn't apply any fertilizer as he drilled the oats. He wasn't concerned with grain yield, and it would have been an added expense.

A couple of cattle got a "head start" on the feed value of the oats. When the guys cleaned out the planter after planting, the cattle we plan to harvest for meat for our freezer got the "leftovers."
As much as we'd like a rain now, you don't want a rain after the oats are swathed. The oats are even more temperamental than alfalfa or sudan for spoilage.

Just like with every other crop, it seems, time will tell. (I like that tired cliche better than the wild oats one - ha!)


  1. You ever get a holiday? The farm seems to need your constant action. I hope the birds don't take the new shoots and that the rains fall at the best time.

    1. We were gone for a Master Farmer/Homemaker gathering in Manhattan, KS, on Thursday and Friday and then stayed on Saturday to play with the granddaughters, so we get away. We haven't taken a big trip lately, which probably bothers Randy more than me!

  2. We are also sowing oats at the moment - which is quite interesting because of our completely different seasons. Oats here is a winter crop.

    1. That is strange that it happens at the same time since we're on opposite ends of the seasonal spectrum!