Avena sativa Annual grass. A solid all-purpose VNS (Variety Not Stated) oat. Oats tolerate acidic soils better than any other grain crop; a common rotation crop on potato farms.
As cover crop, seed at 100–200#/acre. For grain, seed early at 120–150#/acre, 3–4#/1000 sq ft.
As cover crop: Probably the most bang for your buck you can get in the world of cover crops. Offers high biomass and excellent weed competition. Tolerates a wide range of weather and soil conditions. Plant heavily in August or September (planting rates should increase with later seeding dates) for a frost-tolerant cover crop that holds nutrients, builds organic matter and helps control weeds—but that also winterkills, leaving less of a management headache in the spring than winter rye.
As feed grain: Consistently high-yielding, produced more than 100 bushels/acre with 13.3% protein in North Dakota trials. Excellent feed for cows and horses; too high in fiber for hogs.
8085 Common Oats - Organic
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Avena spp. Oats are a real workhorse of a cover crop. They are inexpensive to sow, they’re not fussy about their soil, they build generous amounts of carbonaceous biomass, they’re competitive with weeds, they love cool weather but tolerate warm weather, they get along well with legumes like peas and clover in mixes, and they die over the winter (at least in New England—they’re hardy to 15°) so they don’t cause the spring headache that rye does.
As if their prowess as a cover crop weren’t enough, the grain may be used as food or feed, and oat straw makes some of the finest, softest mulch you’ll ever have the pleasure to kneel on. Try planting oats in early August and then planting your garlic into the living oats around mid-October—the oats will die over the winter and your garlic beds will be already mulched come spring. And there’s more! Herbalists favor “milky oats” (oat heads harvested when they are still green and the kernels exude a milky substance when squeezed) as a gentle restorative tonic.