Metacultures – Black oats, proven in heavy soils
Black oats (avena strigosa) are an annual spring crop of the cereal family (Poaceae). It originates from the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain). It is mainly grown in South America due to its high productivity, both green fodder and grain. Unlike ordinary spring oats, black oats are stronger and more cold-resistant.
Black oats have a number of unique soil properties and are a commonly used component in cover crop mixes. It grows intensively, and its dense root system manages to improve the structure even on very heavy soils with high clay content. Black oats can produce a quantity of biomass close to that of rye, and the higher content of mineral nitrogen in plant residues favours its easier decomposition in the soil. Black oats have been found to absorb and purify the soil of certain heavy metals such as cadmium (Eustaquio Junior et al., 2010; Uraguchi et al., 2006). It is resistant to diseases and some nematodes and is often used to break down the cycle of pathogens.
Black oats are highly tolerant to strongly acidic and heavy soils. It is resistant to frost and can be used in both summer and winter mixes of cover crops.