Oats as a cover crop

Encyclopedia Article

Avena sativa

Type: cool season spring annual grass

Pros: good fit for prevent plant acres and for use ahead of corn production; moderate potential to scavenge nutrients, suppress weeds, improve soil health, prevent erosion

Overwintering potential: no

Planting date: late August through October

Ideal Seeding depth: 0.5” to 1.0” – rainfall/soil moisture needed to get good establishment

Seeding rate: drilled = 60 – 75 pounds per acre; overseeded = 80 – 100 pounds per acre

Oat seedling. Photo courtesy of M. Licht, Iowa State University. 

* based on typical use timing in a corn and soybean cropping system.

References and Resources

SARE. 2007. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd edition. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, College Park, MD.

MCCC. 2020. Cover Crop Selector Tool. Midwest Cover Crops Council, West Lafayette, IN.