All joking aside last year was the first year in twenty that we planted oats. I asked several farmers I knew when was the best time to plant. Each one seemed to have a different answer. Since we use no-till, I planted just ahead of our irrigated corn; which left me planting corn in the middle of our great and plenty-full spring rains. We have a unique 'irritating' watering situation on our irrigated land because the soil goes from pure sugar sand to the darkest black gumbo you may have ever seen. I decided to put the oats on the sand because sand would dry faster if the rains ever came. We had just done some major work on the sprinklers, and we had hope that they would be more reliable than they had been the previous year, which was nothing less than a drought.
So, how much seed do I plant per acre? Again, I asked around and found some great answers, most of which were within ... say 50 pounds per acre. Because the intended oat ground is irrigated and on last years corn stalks to boot, we decided to plant without putting down starter fertilizer. Tons of trash from the previous year remained, and we thought the wind would blow the trash off as soon as we planted, and some of the fertilizer would be on the blowing trash. I didn't want the swather cutting stalks so I used a stalk shredder before planting. We use liquid placed on top of the row with this drill which seems to work fine.
Well I pulled the
drill to the field and put in the bags of seed I had. I was shooting for 70
pounds per acre. I made two rounds and the seed was gone. Seems I had the
drill set wrong,... no, the chart didn't go that high! I reset the drill and
finished the half circle. Two days later the wind came up and blew the trash
off. It would have been hard to find a cleaner field. Alas, there were oats
and, since the trash was gone, a few weeds decided they should venture out
too. Since I wanted to put some oats up in small square bales for horses, I
didn't spray any of the crop.
By now the oats were well past the prime stage for cutting but would still make good cow feed. I decided that this time I wasn't taking a chance of even getting rain on the windrows so I cut a small grassy corner. Just as I was finishing, a shower came along and wet up the rows. In complete disbelief, I waited a couple days to finish cutting the oats. I was baling on the last short rounds when rain drops again hit the windshield of the tractor. Yes another big shower! Now the year before proved one of the driest on record; but with all of these showers, I knew this was going to be a great year. After the oats were stacked the rains stopped. The rest of the summer was unusually dry!
Believe it or