Short Description: Winter oats are a hardy, annual cool season forage crop planted for wildlife and livestock.They are a high quality green forage during fall, winter, and early spring. Oats tolerate wet or saturated soils better than wheat. Oats are generally amongst the highest yielding cool season forages, especially in the fall and early winter. Oats can be cold sensitive, and they will often freeze out in north Texas and the Panhandle. For livestock forage plantings, oats are often planted with annual ryegrass to provide both fall-winter and late-winter through spring grazing. Oats germinate readily with minimal soil moisture.

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Winter oats are an annual, cool season small grain that grows 1-3’ at maturity. Oats are widely adapted for use as a winter forage for livestock and wildlife on a variety of soils and planting locations, especially in south and central Texas. Oats are also used as a nurse crop for native seed mixes and warm season grasses that must be planted in winter. When used in this manner, the seeding rates should be reduced to prevent dense cover that can interfere with emergence of warm-season native species the following spring. Oats are a preferred plant for use in winter food plots for white-tailed deer, which relish the young foliage. 

Oats can be planted from September through December depending on the planting location. Oats generally need temperatures above 50 F for emergence and early growth. If planted too early, armyworms can be problematic in oats. For best forage production, delay grazing for 4-6 weeks after emergence and until plants are 6-8″ in height to allow time for the plants to develop an adequate secondary root system and become well anchored in the soil. If possible, do not graze stands below 3-4″ in height.

Planting Rate

65 - 75 lbs per acre


1 - 3 feet