Oats Cultivation

Oats Cultivation

It is one of the most important rabi/winter cereal fodder crops of India. It is used as green fodder, straw, hay or silage. Oat grains make a good balanced concentrate in the rations for poultry, cattle, sheep and horse. Green fodder contains about 10–12% protein and 30–35% dry matter. It is fed to animals mixed with berseem or lucerne green fodder. Its fodder and grains are highly nutritious and preferred by milch cattle and draft animals. Very small portion of oat grain is processed into food in the form of “rolled oats and oat meal” for human consumption.

Origin: Perhaps originated in Asia Minor.

Area: The leading oat producing countries are former USSR, USA, Canada, Poland, China, France and Australia. It is cultivated in an area of 26.8 m.ha. with a production of 40.3 m.t. In India, it is cultivated on large scale in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and a limited area in certain part of Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal. In Tamil Nadu, it is grown in Nilgris.

Classification: According to their chromosome number, the oats are grouped into three groups.

Group I: A. brevis: Short oats are grown in Southern Europe for green fodder and hay.

Group II: A. abyssinica: “Abyssinian oat” is grown in several parts of North Africa for fodder.

Group III: A. sativa: “Common Oat”. It occupies 80% of total acreage under oat.

A. byzantina: “Red oat” is grown around Mediterranean region, Europe and North Asia and warmer sub tropical area for both grains and fodder. It is also cultivated in India, next to A. sativa. It is a heat tolerant crop.

A. chirensis: Chinese naked oat extensively is grown in hilly parts of China for grain.

A. strigosa: Called “sand oat”.

Dual purpose (Grain and fodder): Grown in Mediterranean region. Of this, 80% of area is under A. sativa and the remaining area is under by A. byzantina.

Climate: It requires cool temperature during germination, tillering, booting and heading stages. High temperature at blooming increases empty spikelets and reduces the seed yield. Oat requires about 15–25º C for its optimum growth. Oat requires more moisture to produce a given unit of dry matter than any other cereal except rice. Rainfall should not exceed 760 mm and should be well distributed.

Soil: It can be grown on all types of soils except the alkaline water logged soils. Oats generally make their best growth on loamy soils, but produce satisfactory yield on heavy or light soil.


Kent: Introduced from Australia, mid late variety, resistant to blight, rust and lodging, dual purpose, fodder yield of 60–65 t/ha, grain yield of 3–3.5 t/ha.

Algerian: For irrigated areas, slow growing, 145–150 days duration, green fodder yield of 40–45 t/ha.

Bunker 10: Mid season variety, suitable for moisture shortage condition, resistant to loose smut, green fodder yield of 40 t/ha.

Coachman: Introduced from USA, erect habit, green fodder yield of 50 t/ha.

HFO 114: Erect type, multicut variety, green fodder yield of 50–55 t/ha, grain yield of 2.5 t/ha, suitable for Haryana.

UPO 50: Medium late and semi erect variety released from Pantnagar, resistant to rust, blight and lodging, fodder yield of 45–50 t/ha, suitable for cultivation in Uttar Pradesh. This crop is rotated with other crops. 1. Jowar–Oat–Maize, 2. Maize–Oat–Maize, 3. Cowpea–Oat +Mustard–Maize + Cowpea, 4. Jowar + Cowpea–Oat + Lucerne.

Time of sowing: Optimum time of sowing is from middle of October to middle of November. Middle of October for fodder production and middle of November for seed production is recommended.

Seed rate: The seed rate is 100 kg/ha. Drill sowing is better than broadcasting.

Field preparation: The field should be thoroughly prepared to get a fine and firm seedbed, for which one deep ploughing followed by 3–4 harrowings and plankings are done. Long narrow beds may be laid out across the field so that only single irrigation channel along the upper side of the field may serve the purpose. Spacing: The spacing is 20–23 cm for fodder and 23–25 cm for grain.

Manuring: Application of organic manures like FYM or compost at 15.0–20.0 t/ha is recommended. Application of NPK at 80:40:0 kg ha is done. Apply entire ‘P’ as basal and ‘N’ should be applied in three splits viz., 60 kg N/ha as basal, 10 kg N/ha at 1st irrigation (25–30 DAS) and 10 kg N/ha after 1st cutting.

Water management: It requires high amount of water and it is irrigated once in 20–25 days and 4–5 irrigations are needed. Generally irrigation is necessary after each cutting. Critical stage is tillering stage.

Weed control: Usually one weeding after 3–4 weeks of sowing is enough.

 Harvesting: The crop needs about 120–150 days to mature. It is common practice to take 2 or 3 cuttings of fodder and then to allow the crop to grow for seed. But normally, only two cuttings are taken from the seed or grain crop. Of these two cuttings, first is taken after 60–65 days and second after 90 days of sowing or at the flowering stage of the crop. Then, plants are allowed to grow and set seeds.

Yield: If it has given two cuts, green fodder yield is 50–60 t/ha and grain yield is 200–400 kg/ha. If the crop is allowed after 1st cut for seed set, the fodder yield is 25–30 t/ha with seed yield of 3–3.5 t/ha. The straw yield is 2.5–3 t/ha. Threshing, winnowing and cleaning of the grain will be followed as done for wheat.

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