A cool-season annual grass, oats (Avena sativa) grow 24 to 60 inches tall, depending on the variety. They are planted early in the season and mature from May through June, depending on the local climate. Oats grow best in cool, moist climates, but are adaptable to a variety of climates. They are widely planted as a winter cover crop in mild winter areas, and are best grown for production in areas with cool summers. Like most grasses, oats have fibrous root systems.
A late-maturing cultivar, 'California Red' is a standard for producing hay. It has a fine growth habit that makes it unsuitable for intercropping with vetches. 'California Red' matures in mid to late May.
A coarse-growing cultivar, 'Cayuse' produces a higher biomass than 'California Red.' It matures in early June. Its grains are yellow and the straw is stiff. 'Cayuse' produces excellent yields.
Maturing during early to mid May, 'Montezuma' produces fine stems and is not suitable to intercrop with vetch. 'Montezuma' produces less biomass than other varieties.
Resistant to barley yellow dwarf virus, 'Ogle' is a coarse-growing oat variety. It produces a high biomass and matures in mid to late May.