Texas farmers interested in planting oats for hay under irrigation this winter may have trouble finding seed in time, says Texas AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Calvin Trostle. 

“There is a shortage of oat seed right now,” Trostle says.  “I e-mailed Texas Seed Trade Association members (earlier this week) to inquire of any remaining oat seed availability or if they could work with a producer, co-op, etc. to get seed shipped in, albeit from considerable distance.”

Trostle says the drought of 2011 crated a significant shortfall of forage throughout much of the Southwest. “A lot of producers are looking to seed oats for hay under irrigation to make up a shortfall of forage.  This will enable them to dedicate some irrigation now to forage; the remaining irrigation will be directed to cotton or another crop on smaller acreage the rest of the year,” he says.

Texas AgriLife Extension suggests February 7 for planting oats south of Lubbock (Lamesa); mid-February around Lubbock, in the early February 20s northwest of Lubbock toward Hereford.  “I have been asked about numerous oat varieties that I have not heard of before—AC Morgan, which was from Alberta, Canada; Shooting Star, Pacific Northwest; etc.  Without any specific awareness of regional adaptation, I encourage producers to consider the longer maturity varieties (see below).”

He says a 2006 oat production guide on the web is still relevant.

See http://lubbock.tamu.edu/programs/crops/wheat/

“For late winter seeding, producers prefer medium-long and long maturity,” Trostle says.  “Texas AgriLife forage trials have demonstrated that early maturity oats (Common names include Bob, Nora, Jerry, Chilocco, Dallas) yield about 1 dry ton per acre less than the medium-long and long maturity varieties (Troy, Monida, Charisma, Magnum/Magnum 2000) planted in our trials.”

He says the short maturity oat yields were comparable to the longer maturity oats in multiple cuttings, but few producers plan to graze.

“With short supplies of seed, in addition to the possibility of planting a variety we are not familiar with, the medium-long and long maturity varieties are preferred,” Trostle says.

He says one TSTA member company, McCormick Seed in Muleshoe (Tim McCormick, 806-543-7402) “did have some oats available. They have 'Triple Crown’ for which I did find a small amount of information. It is longer maturity, and is classified as a forage oat.”