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The best way to deal with the spring milling oat problem

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The hunt for spring oats to be a constant, worthwhile crop that meets millers’ necessities continues after one other troublesome yr for getting one of the best from the crop.

A variety of leads to 2020, with yields and high quality being affected by climate extremes at each ends of the rising season, signifies that millers in England have remained hesitant in regards to the suitability of spring varieties for his or her processes.

Most desire the tried-and-trusted winter oat selection Mascani for its stability, higher high quality and straightforward milling.

See additionally: Why climate dictates ramularia illness choices in barley

“Spring oats are an inconsistent crop in the meanwhile,” says Gordon Gowlett, of Gowlett Grain, who stories 2020 yields as excessive as 9t/ha and as little as 3.5t/ha, with particular weights starting from above 55kg/hl to beneath 40kg/hl.

He provides that distinctive seasons – blamed for the fluctuations and any failures – appear to be the brand new problem for farming, no matter crop you’re rising.

“Winter oats are coming beneath stress from blackgrass, so in East Anglia we’ve got adopted a collaborative method to studying extra in regards to the profitable manufacturing of milling oats from spring sowing.”

Focused analysis

Impartial trials advisor Rosemary Corridor, of Crop Analysis Providers, says spring oat analysis is ongoing, and he or she hopes there might be extra uptake of spring varieties as newer varieties are grown and go on to satisfy strict high quality necessities.

Three years of labor for Jordans/Ryvita has in contrast the efficiency of miller favorite Mascani, when drilled within the spring, with a real spring selection, in addition to wanting on the worth of rising a canopy crop earlier than spring oats.

“There hasn’t been sufficient work accomplished on spring varieties and whether or not they do meet the top consumer’s necessities, or on rising a winter selection within the spring, to know both approach,” she explains.

Drilling date and seed fee

The trials checked out three spring drilling dates – 25 February, 14 March and seven April – and three completely different seed charges – 200, 300 and 400 seeds/sq m – rising Mascani because the winter selection and Elyann because the spring sort.

Plant populations achieved with each varieties have been beneath goal, however when drilled in February the 2 varieties gave comparable numbers. At this sowing date, Elyann at +9t/ha outperformed Mascani at +7t/ha on yield, in any respect three seed charges.

“A normal statement was that we noticed larger yields as we elevated the seed fee, aside from the newest drilling date in April. In that scenario, the best plant quantity gave the bottom yield,” she stories.

In any other case, the 300 and 400 seeds/sq m seed charges have been greatest, with 200 seeds/sq m all the time performing worse.

Grain high quality

The danger of screenings elevated as drilling was delayed, with Mascani having decrease screenings than Elyann throughout the board. The 200 seeds/sq m seed fee gave the best screenings.

On particular weight, Elyann was higher, however values dropped at later sowing dates. Hulling losses have been at their lowest from the February drilling date, with the spring selection proving extra steady in contrast with the spring-drilled winter one.

“As time went on, hulling losses elevated. They have been additionally at their worst on the lowest seed fee,” Ms Corridor says.

Spring 2021

Looking forward to this yr, she warns growers about planting Mascani within the spring.

“After mid-February, it’s too late. It is going to be very gradual to mature and that has a destructive impression on yield, high quality and harvest date.”

From a spring sowing date, Elyann outperforms Mascani, with the best yields and high quality coming from February sowings most often. Newly advisable selection Isabel appears more likely to do the identical, and even higher.

Drilling spring oats

  • Intention to sow 300-400 seeds/sq m
  • Modify seed fee to seed-bed circumstances and weed burden
  • Soil moisture and good soil contact important
  • Plant populations fluctuate throughout seasons and areas
  • Oats can compensate for low plant populations
  • Don’t drill Mascani after mid-February – use a spring selection
  • New spring selection Isabel anticipated to carry out very like Elyann

Case research: Ian Lutey, RH Topham & Sons, St Neots

Spring oats have been grown by Cambridgeshire farm supervisor Ian Lutey since 2016, once they changed a failed oilseed rape crop that had been devastated by flea beetle.

Since then, Mr Lutey has elevated the spring oats space from 25ha as much as 230ha throughout the 1,320ha of combinable crops he grows, with yields starting from 4.5-7.5t/ha.

Though the common yield is round 6t/ha, his 2020 oat crop was one of many worst performing – two August storms when the crop was ripe meant that important portions have been left on the ground.

On-farm trials are serving to him to refine the agronomy of the crop and enhance its resilience, as he believes there’s a information hole with oats.

© MAG/Richard Allison

“We’re going to do extra on nitrogen regimes, seed charges and drilling date,” he says. “We additionally need to have a look at how vitamin can be utilized to affect high quality.” 

Up to now, his efforts have proven {that a} seed fee of 300-375 seeds/sq m is optimum for the farm, whereas the 2020 crop gave a 0.75t/ha yield uplift the place nitrogen was elevated by 50kg/ha.

“That hasn’t essentially been the case in earlier years. The climate has an affect,” he says.

Mr Lutey has recognized 5 key areas in relation to rising spring oats:

1. Institution

His goal is to get the crop up and away quickly, with as even an institution as potential. That may be troublesome in dry springs, he admits, with 2017 proving significantly difficult.

“We tried drilling shallower and misplaced an excessive amount of moisture, so we ended up with two crops – one which got here shortly whereas the opposite was delayed. Now we guarantee that we drill into moisture.”

Cultivations happen within the autumn to create a false seed-bed, in order that he can drill straight into it as quickly as circumstances are proper with out dropping any moisture.

Spring oats are drilled as early as he can, with a deadline of the top of March. “After that, high quality suffers an excessive amount of.”

2. Diet

He has discovered that spring oats are very conscious of manganese and in addition profit from boron and magnesium in drier summers. Tissue evaluation is used to test for deficiencies and information any foliar functions.

Nitrogen charges have settled out at 120-130kg/ha, however he’s doing a little on-farm trials to see whether or not this must be altered and has tried numerous regimes.

“We don’t see further yield from utilizing larger nitrogen charges in yearly and have discovered it troublesome to get nitrogen uptake afterward within the season, particularly when its dry.”

For that cause, nitrogen both goes into the seed-bed or is on by the three-leaf stage. In 2020, there was a visible distinction from later nitrogen, however no results have been seen on yield and high quality at harvest.

3. Weed management

One of many benefits of spring oats is that many of the weed management might be accomplished with glyphosate earlier than drilling, making it easy, says Mr Lutey.

In any other case, if required a sulfonylurea tidy-up might be accomplished for broad-leaved weeds, earlier than the beginning of stem extension.

His different tip considerations fields with a wild oat drawback. “Don’t develop oats in them,” he warns.

4. Development regulation

Spring oats race by the expansion levels and getting plant development regulator proper might be tough. Consequently, Mr Lutey treats every discipline for the season in entrance of him, how dry it’s and the way energetic the expansion is, earlier than making a last determination.

His default place is 0.1 litre/ha of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl), with a second development regulator used if the crop is “frothy”. He finds a “little and sometimes” method works greatest, with two smaller doses being higher than one larger hit.

“They’re dangerous if the crop is harassed. We by no means tank combine them and we hold a cautious eye on the circumstances and the crop’s growth.”

5. Harvest

Make spring oats a harvest precedence, as they gained’t wait as soon as they’re prepared, he warns.

“We learnt that the arduous approach final yr. Two August storms resulted in excessive losses of oats on to the ground. Get them once they’re match or you’ll depart too many within the discipline.”


Contributors on this article have been talking on the latest AHDB spring oats discussion board.

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