Growers encouraged to make nutrition a priority when planting forage oats

Bede O’Mara, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Bede O’Mara, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Following on from last weekend's rainfall, some people will now be turning their thoughts to planting forage oats.

And with a rising demand for feed, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers' agronomist, Bede O'Mara said it is essential for forage oats to grow to their potential this season, which means prioritising nutrition for the grazing crop.

Mr O'Mara said growers should not take a low input approach where there is a heightened need to rest pastures and provide fodder to hungry animals.

"Choosing better paddocks and providing appropriate nutrition will help with achieving higher dry matter yields and better-quality forage oats for those important early grazing opportunities," he said.

Mr O'Mara said growers and their advisers should soil test to identify appropriate paddocks for forage oats and determine fertiliser rates.

"The highest priority with forage oats is phosphorus nutrition, which needs to be addressed at planting," he said.

"It's relatively common for a lack of phosphorus to depress yields in oat crops, mainly because the crop is being grown on ground that's known to be low in fertility. Don't be caught out this season."

Next most important is nitrogen to produce dry matter and achieve targeted protein levels.

Forage oats also need good supplies of potassium and sulphur.

"Nitrogen can be applied pre-plant, at planting and topdressed after grazing to help maintain the quality of the feed well into the season," he said.

"However, potassium should not be applied with the seed at planting due to the salt index of the fertiliser. It should be applied four to six weeks prior to planting, or early in-crop under severe deficiency situations.

"If sulphur is needed, choose a sulphate sulphur fertiliser source for immediate availability to the crop."

Mr O'Mara added that northern alkaline soils often needed additional zinc for crops to achieve to their potential.

"The best strategy is to apply a zinc-fortified starter fertiliser at planting in contact with the seed," he said.

"Consider copper too, particularly in parts of the western Darling Downs where copper deficiencies have been seen in previous years."

For more information and advice on nutrition for forage oats, or to arrange a soil test, contact your local Incitec Pivot Fertilisers' Dealer.

This story Rainfall will see growers turn to forage oats first appeared on Moree Champion.