• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Using oats as a nurse crop for new pasture- graze?

Help Support CattleToday:

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Wisconsin
I rented some clay hillside ground adjacent to mine that had been in a corn/soybean rotation and was beans last year. I did a soil test, fertilized to spec, disked it to level and incorporate the fertilizer. I broadcast 80 lb of oats/acre dragged it in then drilled a "long life" clover based pasture mixture which has some grasses mixed in.

The idea of the oats is to get some quick cover on this hillside so it doesn't wash while the slower clover comes up. This nurse crop of oats is similar to the way alfalfa hay fields are established in WI.

My question is there may be a pretty dense cover of oats coming up. I need some grazing asap. Can I graze the oats early without doing too much damage to the coming clover and grasses underneath.

In addition to needing the grazing I want to get the oats down early so they don't crowd out the grasses.

Thanks for any information. Jim
 

novaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
0
Location
North Dakota
I'm thinking that the ground may be quite soft having just been worked. If you run cows on it now you would probably tear the ground up a fair amount and uproot or otherwise damage the pasture mix? Maybe I'm wrong, but I've always hesistated to graze newly established fields too early. I'm curious as to how the 80 pounds of oats was decided upon. That's nearly 3 bushels per acre. When we use oats as a nurse crop we shoot for closer to 1 bushel (around 30 pounds) per acre so as not to crowd out the crop being established. You may have issues with crowding with that much oats so you may just have to graze it. Personally I would hay it the first time around.
 

msscamp

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
10,701
Reaction score
0
Location
Wyoming
SRBeef":14zshivw said:
My question is there may be a pretty dense cover of oats coming up. I need some grazing asap. Can I graze the oats early without doing too much damage to the coming clover and grasses underneath.

I wouldn't. Grazing a new field will tear it up because it has just been worked and the ground is soft. In addition, cows tend to make cowtrails which will compact certain areas and prevent the grass from coming up. There is also the problem of cowpies preventing sun and air from getting to the ground unless you drag them - which will result in additional compacting of the soil. Factor in any kind of moisture, and you've got a muddy mess.

In addition to needing the grazing I want to get the oats down early so they don't crowd out the grasses.

It is unlikely that the oats will crowd out the grass. They have a limited lifespan, and they will be up and mature before they have much impact on the grass.

Thanks for any information. Jim
 

Stocker Steve

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
10,488
Reaction score
144
Location
Central Minnesota
novaman":1wtitblo said:
Personally I would hay it the first time around.

Too much oats for a nurse crop. You will not get a good stand IF it is a dry year. Hay or chop it if there is any question and then graze it this fall.

If you need early grazing try planting cereal rye, graze it the following spring, and then seeding it down in the second fall.
 
OP
S

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Wisconsin
I appreciate the replies. Yes I did seed it a bit heavy - confused the local seeding rate for a straight combined oat crop vs nurse crop. Oops I think is what they call it. I will hay the oats just before it matures.

I will also see how the understory is coming along and may cut it earlier if I need to free up the clover and grasses. Oat seed was much less expensive than the pasture mix and clovers so the oats are expendable. I will still get something out of them.

Thanks again.

Jim
 

Latest posts

Top