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I don't grow oats, although they are quite popular amongst the cowboys around here, and some grain farmers.
But, looking at the economics of it, I just can't see how they could compete.
I keep hearing how oats is so profitable because it yields 200+ bu/acre, so even at half the price of barley, it would still make lots of money.
According to AFSC Yield, across Alberta, Oats averaged 84 Bu/acre, barley averaged 66.
In my area, risk area 6(west of Red Deer ish), oats 80, barley 77
In risk area 7 (Red Deer ish), Oats 84, barley 84.

It was a very dry year, but previous years aren't that drastically different.

So, who is actually getting these spectacular yields, and where?
Can you keep oats standing at those yields?
 

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Problem with those yields is oats unfortunately gets planted last or on poorer land, breakings, etc that brings that average down. We wouldn't be growing oats if it averaged 80 bu/ac.
Inputs are less, oats scavenge well for nutrients but you do still need to feed the crop. Few treat oats like a cash crop, if you do then yes they pay. 150-200 bu oats are quite common. Yes they stand well but can go down if nutrient management is unbalanced, disease, and nothing you can do about rain and wind sometimes. Newer varieties are getting better legs but Morgan still is sturdy. In our area barley does not yield as well as oats on solenetzic soils. Each area is different and so don't presume it will work as good as barley in your area. Typically wetter cooler areas will yield very well for oats.

Some economics to consider:
150 bu at $3.30/bu = $495/bu (contracts available with AOG for 2019 crop in AB)
Costs to grow oats $120-140 (crop ins, fert, certified seed, chem incl fungicide)
If re-use own seed costs would drop by 10-15$
Gross margin = $355-375
To get the same margin in canola you need to be growing 55+ bu for comparison

This is one crop I believe is only going to keep increasing worldwide, as rice/corn has become a major issue in countries like Mexico and China which diabetes is becoming a major concern along with heart health.
 

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It not a big market yet, but the numbers on Hulless oats significantly better and not the same storage issues(IE 60lbs/b, lower oat yields). About $7/b(based on 34lb bus) cleaned. Also, the straw from this stuff worth a premium and seems to always sell - would not think of chopping even if less than $40/bale anyways. Chaff rows no issue with CX combine as can blow chaff right on top of straw windrow. Gluten free thing definitely a world wide deal.
 

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Have been growing oats for years now used to have 1/3 of the farm in oats but not as much now . Last year was really dry in the eastern prarie and we got probably 80 bushel yield but have also gotten 200 bushels in certain spots of fields . All our straw is usually baled as long as the straw isn't too green ( a couple of years ago it was green so the baler wanted to leave it a bit to ripen and it started to rain and it didn't stop then the loss grew through the swath and we had some BIG smoke when we burned the swathes ) the baler has some nice large square balers and a neat picker which cleans up the field really quickly without any strings or ruts . I have made a really good flamethrower that uses a mix of gas and diesel fuel and can light a quarter in 20 minutes with five or six passes going at 40 kilometers ( just have to slow down for the ditches and rough stuff or you could loose the guy on the tailgate ) !
 

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I have had good luck putting oats on land that is somewhat saline. A wheat crop will typically suffer more in such a situation but oats seem to do decently and it adds some organic matter back to the soil.

Local seed growers tell me that there is good demand for seed and I hear some guys switching wheat acres to oats for up-coming year.

No way I would burn valuable nutrients and organic matter, just chop it.

 

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I'm absolutely certain that it's better to chop and incorporate the straw, but it got me wondering what actually is put down in the soil when burning off a crop vs incorporating the straw?
 

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I'm absolutely certain that it's better to chop and incorporate the straw, but it got me wondering what actually is put down in the soil when burning off a crop vs incorporating the straw?
I think lots of people don't realize the amount of nutrients in straw. I downloaded an AG PHD App that calculates fert removal rates for various crops and yields. The nice thing is it gives the fert removal for both the seed and straw and total crop. I find it a very handy tool to use.


Ag PhD ? Information for Agriculture - Ag PhD Nutrient Removal by Crop App
 

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Well in ash you have all nutrients except nitrogen. So you would lose all your potential N but not much else.
Some research has been done to calculate nutrient losses when burning straw. One thing it doesn't calculate is loss of organic matter that would eventually end up in the soil as the straw decomposes. A google search shows numerous studies.

https://www.topcropmanager.com/up-in-smoke-nutrient-loss-with-straw-burning-1114/

https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/crop-residue-burning-program/the-costs-of-stubble-burning.html

http://www.ipni.net/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/896A64C047EA4DE5852571B1006A5BF1/$file/06-3p10.pdf
 

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Well in ash you have all nutrients except nitrogen. So you would lose all your potential N but not much else.
Some research has been done to calculate nutrient losses when burning straw. One thing it doesn't calculate is loss of organic matter that would eventually end up in the soil as the straw decomposes. A google search shows numerous studies.

https://www.topcropmanager.com/up-in-smoke-nutrient-loss-with-straw-burning-1114/

https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/crop-residue-burning-program/the-costs-of-stubble-burning.html

http://www.ipni.net/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/896A64C047EA4DE5852571B1006A5BF1/$file/06-3p10.pdf
Thanks for that, the links do provide great info.
Answers my question.
Straw will always stay on my farm, and really with modern straw choppers theres no reason straw shouldn't be put back in your soil.
 

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Thanks for that, the links do provide great info.
Answers my question.
Straw will always stay on my farm, and really with modern straw choppers theres no reason straw shouldn't be put back in your soil.
****, i wouldn't wanna pay a dollar for each neighbor baling or burning their straw over here.
incorporating the straw here properly cost roughly 15 an acre just in fuel. And they have modern straw choppers.
 

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What kind of yield do you get down south? Also, what was the price for you guys (34 lb bu)?
40-70 dryland behind sunflowers is what I was seeing, probably would be a bit more behind something else. I don't know how you guys are getting those yields, we would be lucky to get 115 on irrigated. Wheat typically averages 70 dryland and 115 irrigated for a comparison. If I remember right I got $2.75 a bushel in August 2018.
 

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****, i wouldn't wanna pay a dollar for each neighbor baling or burning their straw over here.
incorporating the straw here properly cost roughly 15 an acre just in fuel. And they have modern straw choppers.
Just curious how do you figure 15 an acre?
Maybe I haven't been incorporating properly.
We usually spike in NH3 and heavy harrow.
It's no high speed tillage, but gets most of the junk mixed in.
 

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Just curious how do you figure 15 an acre?
Maybe I haven't been incorporating properly.
We usually spike in NH3 and heavy harrow.
It's no high speed tillage, but gets most of the junk mixed in.
can post all the numbers on value of organic matter and such, but there is some ground and some conditions where $15/a in costs of managing residue may be light - IE Canola the next Spring gets frozen or uneven germination because of too much straw. Also, obviously burning different than baling in that all the stubble gone, but if you leaving 10-15" stubble(assuming your oats stand good enough such that you can) are you really losing so much?
 

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40-70 dryland behind sunflowers is what I was seeing, probably would be a bit more behind something else. I don't know how you guys are getting those yields, we would be lucky to get 115 on irrigated. Wheat typically averages 70 dryland and 115 irrigated for a comparison. If I remember right I got $2.75 a bushel in August 2018.
Cooler nights is main reason why up north here we can get higher yields and test weights that start to get close to 50 lb/bu. Same idea as canola, needs to get below 18-20 degC at night to keep the oats/canola growing and filling, nothing scientific just anecdotally from what we have seen and experienced. Also can't have sustained days of more than 28-30 degC or same issue, plants start to shut down with the stress. Because of these conditions is why we can't grow soybeans or corn consistently either, too cool.
 

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And of course you would lose all your potential organic matter
Not quite, annual crops have roughly 1/3 of their biomass below ground, that wouldn’t be lost to burning. I don’t have evidence but think there is a strong arguement that roots do far more for soil organic carbon than residue, most of that straw on the surface is metabolized and lost as CO2 eventually.
 

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Just curious how do you figure 15 an acre?
Maybe I haven't been incorporating properly.
We usually spike in NH3 and heavy harrow.
It's no high speed tillage, but gets most of the junk mixed in.
we burn roughly $5,- an acre first pass with deep tiller than roughly 2 passes which is roughly $4 an acre,
sometimes when our straw is short like last year we get by with 1 pass deep tiller and 1 pass lemken.
we usually harvest, heavy harrow, deep till, lemken (2x) heavy harrow again, and then sometimes roll if we grow soybeans or canola after a cereal.

we spend a **** load of money on tillage wear and tear on cultivators and high speed tillage equipment. but that money comes back in spring when your crop is nice and even and 2 stages ahead compared to the guys that didn't work in the straw properly.
 

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I spend a lot on tillage too. But I think it’s worth it. The only thing I don’t like is the hrs we put on the equipment.
 

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Just curious how do you figure 15 an acre?
Maybe I haven't been incorporating properly.
We usually spike in NH3 and heavy harrow.
It's no high speed tillage, but gets most of the junk mixed in.
we burn roughly $5,- an acre first pass with deep tiller than roughly 2 passes which is roughly $4 an acre,
sometimes when our straw is short like last year we get by with 1 pass deep tiller and 1 pass lemken.
we usually harvest, heavy harrow, deep till, lemken (2x) heavy harrow again, and then sometimes roll if we grow soybeans or canola after a cereal.

we spend a **** load of money on tillage wear and tear on cultivators and high speed tillage equipment. but that money comes back in spring when your crop is nice and even and 2 stages ahead compared to the guys that didn't work in the straw properly.
Jesus.... that is a lot of passes....
What kind of soil do you have, where are you located?
You said heavy harrow before deep tillage... is that to spread out the straw more evenly?

[My apologies if I'm throwing this thread off topic]
 
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