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Naked Oat Grower Guide
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OAT NOTES
Advice on growing naked oats

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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.

Tolerance
Winter naked oats are well suited for many farms in the UK, as the crop can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

Precropping
It is important to ensure adequate control of volunteers from the preceding cereal crop in order to avoid grain contamination.

Weed Control
Post harvest clean land to reduce volunteers. Blackgrass and wild oats can be difficult to control in oat crops.

Cultivations
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.

Frequency
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.

Varieties
Hendon and Grafton are the current recommended winter varieties.  Spring varieties are also available.

Seed Rate
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%.

Timing
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.

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Fertiliser Requirements
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.

Minor Nutrients
Oats are vulnerable to manganese deficiency which should be treated if symptoms of deficiency are seen at an early stage.

Weed Control
There are a number of approval herbicides available for use with naked oats.

Disease Prevention
Modern varieties of oats have good levels of disease resistance and the common diseases of mildew and crown rust can be controlled.

Growth Regulators
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.

Harvesting
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.

Storage
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.

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Place in the rotation
Winter naked oats are well suited for many
farms in the UK. They can be grown through lowland England and Wales and in the more sheltered parts of Scotland.  The oat crop tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and with its tolerance to acidic soils, it can be grown down to a pH of 5.3. The crop is, however, prone to manganese deficiency and this should be borne in mind in field selection. Recent research work has shown that even modest applications of maganese in the autumn can improve winter hardiness.
Cultivations should follow that practiced for other cereals, but because crops can suffer frost lift, consolidation after drilling is especially important on light or organic soils.

Good seedbed conditions are perhaps more important than sowing date, especially on heavier soils. The highest yields will be achieved on deep, moisture retentive soils which are not prone to drought or hot spots. It will of course be important to ensure adequate control of volunteers from the preceding cereal crop in order to avoid grain contamination.

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. As such winter oats can replace winter barley as a second or third cereal after wheat. 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.

Varieties
                                    Hendon                  Grafton
Yield
Fungicide Treated          116                          107
Untreated                         101                          100
Resistance to Lodging     (9)                           8
Straw Length                      80                         125
Winter Hardiness              (7)                           (7)
Mildew                                 (5)                            5
Crown Rust                         5                             6

Seed Rate

Time of sowing and optimum seed rate both influence yield, grain quality, and the management regime required by the crop.  There is a greater variation in thousand grain weight between oat cultivars both within a season and across years when compared with other cereals. It is therefore essential that careful consideration is given to seed weight and target population when determining seed rates.
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Seed rates of between 100 and 125kg/ha are used for naked oats. However from trials conducted by ADAS Rosemaund and elsewhere on the effect of seed rates it would appear that, in normal situations, a seed rate of 400 seeds/m -2  for naked oats would be an optimum rate allowing for spring plant populations of 250 plants/m-2.  Obviously where establishment conditions are less good, or if it is not the optimum drilling time, this rate should be increased.

Time of Sowing
Evidence has shown that higher yields of winter crops are achieved with earlier drilling.  While this will be affected by post drilling conditions, crops planted in September will deliver a higher spring population and improved winter survival. Winter oats should therefore be sown in mid September on exposed or more northern sites or in the South.
One disadvantage of early sowing of winter seed is there will be an increased lodging risk and an increased risk of early season disease and aphids. However early sowing will reduce frost lift.

Sowing Depth
Birds find naked oat seed attractive, therefore good coverage is essential with a sowing depth of 2.5 to 3.7cm.

Nitrogen Requirements
Current trials at ADAS Rosemaund on naked oats have indicated that optimum yield was achieved using a split dressing of 40kg/ha in the seedbed, with an additional 80kg/ha applied in the late spring.

Phosphate & Potash Requirements
Phosphate and potash requirements are similar to other cereals and will depend on the soil index and the affects of previous cropping. There should be an advantage in applying fertiliser in the seedbed to soil index 0 or 1, but a soil index of 2 or above they can be applied at anytime.

Manganese Requirements
The incidence and severity of maganese deficiency depends on soil type and seasonal weather pattern. It can be diagnosed by leaf analysis and may require both autumn and spring foliar sprays to combat deficiency.

The most effective treatment is 4.5kg/ha of manganese sulphate in the autumn, together with 9kg/ha in the spring.
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Naked Oats
Naked Oats
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