By David Hunsberger – Central Regional Coordinator
- Fast Feed
- Earliest soil cover crop in spring season
- Aggressive mitigation of out wintered cattle feeding areas or sacrifice lots
- Rotation for livestock producers wanting a crop season of annuals to maximize forages
- Organic producers wanting an economical diverse grain crop without cultivation or row crops
You can sow this mix quite early in the spring, even if we are getting a few latent frost events as long as field conditions will allow travel you can sow Oat/Pea mixtures. Check depth you will want to be ¾ to 1 inch seed placement. Typically we blend them at a 50:50 to 60:40 ratios for forage production. We would solid seed them at 100 lbs per acre, if using as a nurse crop for perennial seedlings we would recommend 35-50 lbs /acre so as to nurture but not drown out the main crop.
Forage quality is best if grazed or harvested before the oats fraction heads emerge. This crop has a high moisture content and is usually very productive (3 plus tons of forage DM/Acre) so we typically suggest fermented feed harvest and storage or grazing instead of attempting to dry bale. Wide swathing with 3-4 inch residual stubble promotes drying and minimizing of ash content in forage.
If you are renovating a winter heavy use area haul the majority of spoiled feeds and manure to other paddocks or fields and drag the area to spread out manure for best nutrient uptake. You can follow the Oat Pea mix with a summer annual like BMR millet or sudangrass for maximizing the production, following the summer annual with some winter triticale and annual ryegrass or permenant hay or pasuter mix in late summer. In this way you can raise over 6 ton of forage DM in a season of normal rain fall.
In a Grain harvest scenario, we recommend custom mix by seed count. The target ratio of oat plants to pea plants is 80:20. While doing the mix, factors such as germination rate and seed size come into play, and these factors will vary from lot to lot. The Oat/Pea combination has yielded more than other spring grains, but success can vary greatly by climate, with best success seen north of I80, and areas of higher elevation. When selecting your varieties for the mix, we would recommend selecting grain varieties for both the oats and the peas. Be sure to select a spring pea!
When combining this mix monitor the concave or cylinder setting to minimize seed coat cracking. Keep fan air high to clean. You may wish to have a circular rotating sieve at the bin loading auger to remove fines going into storage!
Oat /Pea mixes can be a versatile option for achieving your early spring objectives