Seed treatments should be used to prevent seed and soil borne diseases, especially smut. Soil borne diseases such as root-rots are likely to be larger problems in cool, wet growing conditions in the spring. Hulless oats are more susceptible to seed diseases and are recommended to be treated with a seed treatment. (View chart of registered seed treatments for oats.)
Date of Seeding
Early seeding can result in increased yield and test weight. It may result in higher quality in areas that have frequent fall moisture. However, early seeding may also result in the oats emerging at the same time as or after wild oats emerge. This may result in reduced yields and lower quality due to wild oat contamination.
Optimum seeding dates will vary by location and usually is later as you move west and north from the Red River valley in Manitoba and as you move north from southern Alberta. Normally, seeding from May 1 (Red River valley and southern Alberta) to June 20 (Northern areas) will result in optimum yield and quality.
A plant population of 18-23 plants/ft2 is desired. Seeding rates can be calculated using Thousand Kernel Weight.
Situations that require seeding rates at the higher end of the range stated above would include:
- High fertility
- Optimum moisture
- Late seeding (to reduce tillers)
- High wild oat populations anticipated
Depth of Seeding
Seed depth should only be deep enough to reach soil moisture and never deeper than 8 cm (3”). In direct seeding and where seedbed moisture is optimum, seed depth should be targeted towards 2-3 cm.
Oats are usually seeded with a row spacing of 18-30 cm (7.5-12 inches). Research has indicated that there is very little differences in yields over a number of years within these row spacings. However, wider row spacings may result in an increased problem with wild oats and other weeds in oats.
As there is no chemical control for many grassy weed species, care must be taken using wider row spacing. In addition, wider row spacing may result in difficulty managing swaths in dry conditions as there may not be enough stubble to hold the swath off the ground.