I have been doing some reasearch on oat hay and I have been interested in finding which variety that will produce a high-yield crop without sacrificing too much palatability  In 2011 I had a small field with two varieties, Everleaf and Charisma, and the Everleaf variety was almost 6 inches taller than the Charisma variety and about 10 days less mature. 

Everleaf had a thick stalk with lots of leaf, and I think it is a good variety for cattlemen chasing high yields and can sacrifice some palatability.  However because of the thick stalk, some horses might pick through it and waste too much.  The Charisma was a pretty good utility variety, as it was more palatable, but with reduced yield. 

Because of how tall the Everleaf grew, I had to shut off the wheel line earlier than I wanted which speeded up the maturity process.  If it was under pivot, I would have hit it with another 2 inches of water and I think I could have gotten another half ton/acre.  

I went to Corvallis Feed & Seed company, a seed company that moves quite a bit of oat seed and asked for 6 samples of varieties and I planted a test plot.  The varieties I planted were:

  • Grey
  • Swan
  • Texas Red
  • Charisma
  • Montazuma
  • Everleaf
  • I also planted some triticale

We will see what the different varieties produce this summer. In the meantime, I think I will be planting some Texas Red and Everleaf this spring for the horse and dairy market.

If you have any thoughts on varieties, feel free to comment below. I would expecially like to hear from consumers.