Agronomic Practices for Enhancing Yield and Quality

Traditional rules of thumb for oat agronomy are changing in light of higher yielding, disease-resistant varieties with improved lodging resistance that require higher nutrient levels to reach their full potential.

Routinely, there are reports of oat yielding 150 toward 200 bushels per acre under the best growing situations. The standard 34 lb/bu oat is a target long left behind as grain quality continues to rise. Nutritional properties of oat have improved as well.

Plant breeding, selecting from available variation, has resulted in the stacking of desirable health traits in the grain. Research is currently underway to determine the effectiveness of tailoring a specific agronomic package (nutrients, fungicides, plant growth regulators (PGR)) for each variety. Also note, that as of 2020 some PGRs (Manipulator 620) are now registered for oats but growers should check with their buyers before applying any product to ensure that product is permitted. The era of variety-specific agronomy for oat production is upon us. Yan et al (2017) and others have reported varieties respond differently to nitrogen rate.

Along with the oat breeding improvements, oat agronomy has become a key partner in the success of oat and continues to build momentum for outstanding results. Overall, studies on agronomic practices in oat and productivity are limited compared to major cereal crops such as wheat and barley.

Herein we present the results from key studies, but results should be considered in light of their location(s) and the limited repetition of agronomic studies for oat.

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Hall, M. and C. Holzapfel. 2018. Oat vigour improves with larger seed size. Report submitted to Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission (ADOPT# 20170417).
Li, P., Mo, F., Li, D., Ma, B-L., Yan W., and Xiong Y. 2018. Exploring agronomic strategies to improve oat productivity and control weeds: leaf type, row spacing, and planting density. Can. J.Plant Sci. 98: 1084–1093.
Ma, B.L., Zheng, Z.M., Pageau, D., Vera, C., Fregeau-Reid, J., Xue, A., and Yan, W. 2017.
Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake, yield and agronomic traits of oat cultivars as affected by fertilizer N rates under diverse environments. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 108: 245–265.
May, W.E., Mohr R.M., Lafond G.P., Johnston A.M., and Stevenson F.C.. 2004. Effect of nitrogen, seeding date and cultivar on oat quality and yield in the eastern Canadian prairies. Can. J. Plant Sci. 84: 1025-1036.
Weikai Y, J., Fregeau-Reid, B.-L. Ma, D. Pageau, and C.Vera. 2017. Nitrogen fertilizer complements breeding improving yield and quality of milling oat. Crop Sci. 57: 3291-3302.
Winkler, L. and K. Murphy. 2017. Producing milling oats in western Washington: Guide to grain quality optimization and marketing. Washington State University, released April 2017
Willenborg, C.J., Rossnagel, B.G., and Shirtliffe, S.J. 2005. Oat caryopsis size and genotype effects on wild-oat competition. Crop Sci 45: 1410-1416.
Yan, W., J. Fregeau-Reid, B-L. Ma, D. Pageau, and C. Vera. 2017. Nitrogen fertilizer complements Breeding in improving yield and quality of milling oat. Crop Sci 57: 3291-3302.