Teagasc advisors have been walking crops the length of the country over recent weeks with the aim of providing growers with recommendations and advice, courtesy of regular winter agronomy webinars.

The most recent of these was held earlier this week, with winter oats profiled as a crop needing immediate management attention.

Johnstown Castle-based advisor Larry Murphy reported that growers should walk their oat crops now with the aim of assessing growth stage and plant numbers.

He added:

“All crop treatments should be based on growth stage and weather conditions.

“In terms of nitrogen, the recommended application rate is between 120kg and 150kg/ha, made available as a split dressing.

Anything over and above that increases the risk of lodging. The nitrogen should be applied in two equal splits, if at all possible at growth stage 30 and growth stage 32.

Soil testing

Where phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are concerned, Murphy explained that applications should be made on the basis of soil test results.

“If the field is index 1, we are looking at 4.5 bags of 10:10:20 per acre,” he said.

“Fields at index 2 should receive 3.5 bags per acre of 10:10:20 while fields at index 3 should receive 3.25 bags of 10:08:25.

No P or K is required in fields at index 4. There are numerous compound options available on the market at the present time. It is very important to match the compound that matches each field’s P and K indices,” he added.

Growers should try and meet all their P requirements in the first split. K can be topped up to the required levels in the second split.

According to Murphy, P and K requirements are based on soil tests and expected yields.


“Oats have a tremendous demand for potash. A crop yielding 10t/ha will remove a huge quantity of K from the soil, in the region of 144kg/ha,” he explained.

“Oat straw contains high levels of potash. So it would be the first crop that I would consider when it comes to the option of straw chopping and incorporation back into the ground after this year’s harvest.”

The tillage specialist said that sulphur is important for all cereal crops. Teagasc advice is to apply 15kg of sulphur per hectare to oats.

This can be supplied in the second fertiliser split. Excessive nitrogen will significantly reduce the KPH value of oats. This is a critically important determinant of oat profitability.

Where trace elements are concerned, Murphy referred to manganese; copper; zinc; and magnesium.

“Manganese is critical for oats and all crops should receive a foliar spray of this trace element,” he said.

The applications should be spit across two runs of the sprayer.

“In terms of zinc, we are coming across a lot of deficiency problems on long-term tillage ground.

“So it is worthwhile applying a co-formulation of both manganese and zinc, again across two applications,” he concluded.