Winter Naked Oats are a very good break-crop, which can be expected to deliver a yield response of 10% over the following wheat crop.
The crop is easy to grow, with most agronomic practices the same as husked oats.
Winter naked oats are well suited for many farms in the UK, as the crop can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.
It is important to ensure adequate control of volunteers from the preceding cereal crop in order to avoid grain contamination.
Post harvest clean land to reduce volunteers. Blackgrass and wild oats can be difficult to control in oat crops.
Cultivations should follow that practised for other cereals, but as oat crops can suffer frost lift, consolidation after drilling is especially important on light or organic soils. Good seedbed conditions are as important as sowing date.
To avoid problems with soil born Oat Mosaic Virus and Stem Eel Worm, winter oats should not be grown more frequently than one year in four.
Hendon and Grafton are the current recommended winter varieties. Spring varieties are also available.
Current Research suggests that a seed rate target of 400 seeds m-2 achieving plant population of 250 plants m-2 in the spring produce the best economic returns. Due to the exposed germ, Germination should be checked when calculating seed rate as it is usually lower than cereals. Minimum for Certified seed is 75%.
Target drilling dates are from mid September to October, however as oats have a low vernalisation requirement, this offers great versatility for sowing windows through to the spring.
Nitrogen requirements will depend upon soil type and residue levels. Increased applications of nitrogen upto 125kg/ha, will produce improved yields. Risk of lodging can be reduced with the use of the new stiff-strawed dwarf varieties.
Most soils show good availability of potassium and phosphate, and application rates should be based on local conditions to ensure sufficient supply of these nutrients.
Oats are vulnerable to manganese deficiency which should be treated if symptoms of deficiency are seen at an early stage.
There are a number of approval herbicides available for use with naked oats.
Modern varieties of oats have good levels of disease resistance and the common diseases of mildew and crown rust can be controlled.
The use of growth regulators has been widespread in order to prevent lodging, however the advent of shorter strawed varieties has reduced the need for their use.
Winter oats coming into harvest in early August can allow the opportunity for timely winter wheat drilling or for a two year break to be followed by winter oilseed rape.
The crop is generally harvested prior to winter wheat. It is important that the crop is ripe when combining as the husk will not detach when unripe producing higher levels of husked oats in the sample.
Naked oats are covered in fine hairs, and it is important to achieve suitable combine setting to produce as clean a sample as possible.
Preclean the grain prior to storage if possible and dry to below 14% for safe storage. As with all crops the grain should be monitored at regular intervals to ensure it is in sound condition.