Planting spring oats and turnips to extend the grazing season

Most producers plant spring oats in spring. However, spring oats can be planted in late summer as well for fall and early winter grazing. Spring oats will die out after the first hard freeze in the mid 20’s.

Oats are a high-quality forage, almost as good as wheat. Since oats do not have awns, cattle can graze them easily.

Is it possible to plant oats and turnip at the same time? The answer is yes. Some wildlife hunters plant oats and turnips for their deer food plots in the fall. Producers can use the same concept for beef grazing in the fall.

Forage turnip is one of the forage brassicas (others include forage rape, turnip, and kale) and has very high nutritive value with 24 – 25% crude protein in leaves and 16-18% crude protein in the roots. Forage turnip has high moisture content, so it’s not suitable for hay. The low fiber and high moisture content of forage turnip can cause diarrhea in livestock, so it is recommended that animals have free choice of dry hay or dry forage along with the turnips. Oats can provide some fiber in the growing mix, but not much when the oats are very young.

KSU Agronomy E-Update

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