Oats are mainly used to feed livestock in Texas. Rich in protein and carbs, these annual plants are common in food plots for deer, along with wheat and rye.
If you want to grow this crop for forage, grain production, or any other use, it’s necessary to know when to plant oats in Texas.
In short, it’s best to do this task around February 10 to March 15 in north Texas, or between September to October in east Texas, south Texas, and other areas in the center of the state.
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When to Grow Oats in Texas
1. During late winter/spring in the cold parts of Texas
Oats don’t tolerate extreme freezes well. In fact, they often die if the temperature is under 5℉ and need at least 45 degrees to germinate. Additionally, the crop yield will suffer when the weather drops to 20 °F or lower.
In north Texas, the fall or winter soil may not be this warm, and within cold areas like the High Plains, oats grown during autumn may even die.
Hence, northern gardeners who want to plant oats should do so during late winter or spring, when the weather is less cold. If all goes well, cultivating oats during this season will lead to a fall harvest, which gardeners can use to supplement other winter forage, such as wheat.
A good rule of thumb for sowing oats seeds in spring is to check the soil. It should measure 45 degrees at the minimum and be consistently warm for at least two weeks prior to seeding.
In practice, this timeframe would fall within February 7 to 14 in Lubbock and the start of February to mid-March in Lamesa, just to give you some examples.
Another thing to remember when planting spring oats for hay is to avoid soggy soil. Excess moisture facilitates fungal development, and when combined with poor drainage, the plant doesn’t get enough oxygen to survive, leading to root rot.
2. During fall in the warm regions of Texas
September and October are perfect for growing fall oats in south Texas and other warm areas of the state. Winter oats seeded during these months will provide a late summer harvest, and you may be glad to know that it’s possible to plant wheat in Texas simultaneously.
In fact, people not only grow these two crops concurrently but also plant ryegrass in Texas during autumn. All three will provide forage and give food plots some variety. Plus, wheat is cold-hardy, and ryegrass isn’t picky when it comes to soils, so planting them with oats can be advantageous.
Crop combinations aside, it’s vital to look up the first frost where you live and count backward six weeks. The result will be your oats planting date.
- For instance, San Antonio in Texas has its first frost on November 18. Therefore, residents here should grow oats on October 7.
Can oats be grown in Texas?
Yes, oats can grow in Texas, and they do so exceptionally well in central and southern areas of the state. In 2019, Texas actually ranked in the top 10 US states with the highest oat production values.
How many oats do you plant to the acre?
Generally, 96 pounds of seeds per acre will do. However, use 48 pounds only if you’re sowing oats for forage. Note that these oats planting rates apply to spring gardening.
During winter, however, opt for 100 pounds per acre to feed livestock and 75 pounds per the same land area to produce grain.
Finally, the oats seeding rate in combination with other forage crops is 60 to 90 pounds per acre.
When to cut oats for hay?
The answer depends on whether you want more protein or more yield. For the former, it’s best to cut oats for hay when there’s a lump near the stem’s end. For the latter, wait until there are seed heads emerging or visible anthers.
How long for oats to grow?
Below are the approximate development lengths for oats, from germination to the boot stage and full maturity.
How long oats take to grow depends on when you harvest them, but in any case, oat cutting is possible from the boot stage onwards:
- Boot stage – 48 days
- Flowering – 60 days
- Milk stage – 68 days
- Dough stage – 74 days
- Ripening or full maturity – 80 days
Related: Planting vegetables in Texas (best time, effective factors,…). Click these articles below for more details:
- Best time to tomatoes in texas
- The most suitable time to plant bell peppers in texas
- Planting caladium bulbs in texas – The best time
We hope you now know when to plant oats in Texas.
Growing oats is undoubtedly a nice thing to consider, especially if you are gluten-free and health-conscious. Plus, this cereal crop can suppress weeds and provide excellent winter cover, making it a practical choice for gardeners.
Have you grown oats before? If you haven’t, why not start next year?