Oats: hay essentials

Page last updated: Tuesday, 5 March 2019 - 12:43pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Export hay fits into most of the accepted cropping rotatons and helps reduce weed seed banks, overcomes herbicide resistance and provides a break from traditional chemical regimes in addition to giving growers an alternative cash crop.

Export hay

Talk to your local hay processor before sowing oats for export hay. Hay processors have different requirements which will affect how you manage your crop. Your processor can advise you about their requirements for the production of export hay.

ARGT management and testing

Look to implement an annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) management plan through the introduction of the twist fungus or Safeguard ryegrass. There is nil tolerance of ARGT for export and with export hay becoming a prescribed product, testing for ARGT will become compulsory. ARGT testing services are offered by the Department's Animal Health Laboratory.

Soil test

As hay crop remove substantial amounts of nutrients, it is important to soil test paddocks, particularly those where hay is regularly grown.

Seeding rate

Target 240-20 plants per square metre (110-150 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) depending on grain size). Higher is not always better as it can lead to reduced stem thickness in inherently narrow stemmed varieties like Wintaroo. Higher seeding rates do offer better weed competition and generally lead to increase hay yield.

Variety selection

Winjardie, Carrolup, and more recently released varieties Williams, Wintaroo, Brusher, and Mulgara developed by the National Oat Breeding Program are high quality oaten hay varieties grown in Western Australia. The National Oat Breeding Program develops high quality export hay varieties, focusing on yield, quality and disease resistance improvements.

Table 1 Average hay yield and quality of eleven oat varieties for trials conducted during the period 2011-2014. Data courtesy National Oat Breeding Program. Analysis by Chris Lisle, SAGI
Variety Yield (t/ha) Digestibility (%dm) WSC (%dm) ADF (%dm) NDF (%dm) Crude protein (%dm)
Bannister 9.9 64.0 24.2 30.5 51.9 8.0
Brusher 9.5 62.7 26.0 31.8 52.0 7.7
Carrolup 8.8 61.2 25.2 32.7 52.4 7.6
Mulgara 9.4 62.3 25.3 32.8 52.4 7.9
Swan 9.8 61.9 24.4 33.0 53.5 7.7
WA02Q302-9 8.0 63.0 23.8 33.1 53.2 7.8
Wandering 9.3 64.2 24.5 30.6 51.0 8.2
Williams 8.9 61.4 22.4 32.5 53.5 8.2
Winjardie 9.1 62.6 25.1 32.2 53.1 7.5
Wintaroo 10.0 61.5 23.8 33.2 53.2 7.7
Yallara 9.5 62.4 27.5 31.8 51.0 7.5

Paddock preparation

Roll paddocks after seeding but before the start of tillering (reduces contamination).

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