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Planting spring oats is a great answer to winter wheat losses

As any wheat farmer will tell you, this isn't a good year to raise a wheat crop. David Marburger, Oklahoma State University Extension small grains specialist, believes spring-planted oats may be the answer for wheat pasture.

"When wheat pastures fail, there are limited opportunities to recover lost forage production," Marburger said. "Spring-planted oats are the best option to offset forage losses from wheat pasture and have been a good forage crop for southwestern Oklahoma farmers and rancher for years. 

"The window for such a crop is between Feb. 15 and March 10. Forage production potential is between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds per acre, but you will need about 40-60 pounds per acre of nitrogen to make this type of yield. A fact sheet detailing how to grow the crop can be found at under 'wheat management,' then 'seeding.' Plant 80-100 pounds per acre of good quality seed with a germination of no less than 85 percent. Sow oat seed at around one-half to three-quarters of an inch deep. Most producers will be better off with a coventionally tilled seedbed."

Marburger said oats should be grown to a minimum of 6 inches tall before grazing. And, he said, oats should be cut for hay at early heading to maximize yield and quality.

Boman leaving OSU staff

Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University research director and cotton program leader, will be leaving the OSU staff soon. 

A come-and-go reception will be from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 27.

Boman said he has taken a position with Indigo Ag, an agricultural company specializing in multiple crops. Boman will be working in cotton technical services. 

Located in Charlestown, Mass., the company works, on an international basis, with such crops as corn, cotton, rice, soybeans and wheat. The company provides enhanced premiums at harvest for farmers enrolled in its many programs.

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