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Planting oats for pasture grazing?

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  • Planting oats for pasture grazing?

    Ok, so please excuse my ignorance on pasture management! After I posted my last thread on overseeding the pasture our horses live in at the boarding barn, I asked around to see what other people in my area do.

    Quite a few people have suggested planting oats. I've seen a previous BO do this before, and it seems like it sprouted up extremely fast, grew like crazy, and the horses were pretty content to graze on it.

    Is this a good option for overseeding a pasture that's a bit thinned out? Do you just use the oats you'd normally buy in a 50lb bag to feed to your horses? Or is there a certain kind just for planting?

    Thanks in advance for answering my silly questions.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

  • #2
    Oats are often planted as a companion crop here in western
    Wisconsin when seeding a new alfalfa field. Oats come up
    fast and keep weeds down until the (slower growing) alfalfa
    is well sprouted. The oats are either harvested as hay or
    a bit later harvested as grain and straw. The oats used are
    often "bin run" which means the same sort you would feed
    your horses. It is best to have them cleaned so you don't
    end up planting lots of weed seeds. The two concerns I
    would have with planting grazing oats would be, first, if
    you get a heavy growth, the horses might eat a lot more
    grain than you intend. Second, if the horses don't eat the
    oats for whatever reason and you don't mow them down,
    the oat plants will grow tall and shade the pasture grass and
    limit its growth.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin

    Comment


    • #3
      Here, you can use oats as a cover crop, like when you establish alfalfa or some cultivated grasses, or standing alone.
      If you graze it well, you should get good use out of it and they be gone before too many go to seed.
      We use cattle to graze them intensively, not horses.

      If you want to use the oats for hay or grain, you pull your grazers off in a timely manner, so the plants can grow for that, here about now, the middle of March, is when you want to have all your animals off any grains you want to raise for hay or grain harvest.

      Why don't you ask your local county agent?
      They will be aware of what works best for your area.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
        Oats are often planted as a companion crop here in western
        Wisconsin when seeding a new alfalfa field. Oats come up
        fast and keep weeds down until the (slower growing) alfalfa
        is well sprouted. The oats are either harvested as hay or
        a bit later harvested as grain and straw. The oats used are
        often "bin run" which means the same sort you would feed
        your horses. It is best to have them cleaned so you don't
        end up planting lots of weed seeds. The two concerns I
        would have with planting grazing oats would be, first, if
        you get a heavy growth, the horses might eat a lot more
        grain than you intend. Second, if the horses don't eat the
        oats for whatever reason and you don't mow them down,
        the oat plants will grow tall and shade the pasture grass and
        limit its growth.
        It's 2 horses and a yearling on 2 acres, so I'm thinking they would graze it down before the oats really got to grow up too tall. But that's something I didn't think of, thanks for the info!
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
          Here, you can use oats as a cover crop, like when you establish alfalfa or some cultivated grasses, or standing alone.
          If you graze it well, you should get good use out of it and they be gone before too many go to seed.
          We use cattle to graze them intensively, not horses.

          If you want to use the oats for hay or grain, you pull your grazers off in a timely manner, so the plants can grow for that, here about now, the middle of March, is when you want to have all your animals off any grains you want to raise for hay or grain harvest.

          Why don't you ask your local county agent?
          They will be aware of what works best for your area.
          I'd want it for grazing only, no need for using it as grain.

          Another stupid question! How do I figure out the contact info for my local county agent?
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

          Comment


          • #6
            http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/findoffice.html

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              THank you!
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

              Comment

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