Growers have access to oat cultivars with similar development speeds to Compass barley and Scepter wheat making them suitable for both hay and grain.
Oat varieties sown earlier than current practice can produce biomass (hay yields) similar to Compass and Scepter.
Increasing plant density and shifting N timing did not improve biomass.
Sowing date and cultivar choice are likely to be the most important management levers to optimise hay yields and quality.
The high winds of 2019 highlighted the susceptibility of oats to shattering and greater grain yield losses relative to wheat and barley from earlier planting, however there are useful genetic differences which growers can exploit if considering early sowing oats.
Oats were more tolerant to flowering frost than wheat and barley yielding higher when flowering at a similar time under extreme reproductive frost conditions at Lameroo.
These findings confirm oats as an excellent risk management tool in frost prone landscapes for both hay and grain. Further economic analysis is required.