Select fields with good drainage, sandy loam to heavy clay soil textures. Avoid fields that had cereal crops in the previous year to reduce disease pressure and optimize yields. As well, volunteer cereal grain in an oat sample may cause downgrading.
Oats yield the best in the black and grey wooded soil zones due to the higher moisture content of the soil (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture 2009)
Avoid fields with a history of heavy wild oat pressure, and also avoid fields with a history of herbicide applications that may affect the growth of oats.
- Oats, if possible, should not be rotated back to back with other cereal grains. Back to back rotation with other cereal grains increases the risk of plant disease and weed pressure. More desirable rotational crops include: canola, hayfields, soybeans, and/or other legumes. These crops give oats a strong potential by providing nutrients and reducing disease risk. Corn falls between the desirable rotational crops and the cereal grains. Corn can increase the risk of some plant diseases and tie up nitrogen early in the season.
- A next chart, originating from the Canola Growers Association 2013, can help in the understanding and benefit of crop rotation. In the numbers here, canola grown on oat stubble (124%) has a better yield than canola on wheat (118%) or barley(119%). Flax looks like it does well too, on oat stubble.
|Wheat||Barley||Oats||Brassica napus Canola||Flax||Peas|
|Relative % yield (crop on own stubble=100%)|
|Brassica napus canola||114||115||117||100||118||128|
|** Insufficient Data|
The benefits of oats in crop rotation - A U.S.A. Perspective
Good for the Environment, Good for You
There are many and widely varying descriptions of sustainability. We see merit in the United Nations’ definition, adopted as early as 1987, that defined sustainability simply as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Oats are an essential grain, both for human consumption and animal feed. Oat products are whole grain and heart healthy. Not only are oats healthy for consumers, oats are also healthy for the environment. Oats are especially valuable in environmentally sustainable crop rotation systems, helping to ensure sound cropping and soil conservation practices.
Most North American consumers don’t know about the environmental benefits of growing oats. Oats are an ideal low-input crop which, when included in rotations, encourage crop diversity to reduce soil erosion and control plant diseases, insects and weeds. Oats crops do all this and more. In addition to the direct value of an oat crop – the grain and the straw – oats have value as a key component of agricultural systems that include several other crops in rotations.
Each crop has its particular diseases and insect pests.
Planting crops in a yearly rotation, such as oats/soybeans/wheat/corn, helps prevent buildup of many destructive organisms. Keeping disease organisms and insects at low levels reduces the risk of unexpected yield loss and the need for chemical pesticides. For example, a three-year rotation of corn/oats/soybeans nearly eliminates the problem of corn rootworm eggs hatching after extended dormancy in corn/soybean rotations and, thus, the need for corn rootworm insecticides.