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  • The  oat  (Avena sativa) is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . Oats have the highest oil content of any cereal.
  • Oats come in a variety of kernel colors - white, red, grey, tan, yellow, black. Lighter color oats are most often used as food oats, darker color oats as feeds.
  • Oats are known to be a quality feed for chickens and turkeys, but have been limited in their use by the perceived low digestibility and energy values.


  • Oats are grown throughout the temperate zones. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals like wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers such as Northwest Europe, even being grown successfully in Iceland. Oats are an annual plant, and can be planted either in autumn or in the spring.
  • Oats are an easily grown crop that succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in full sun. They prefer a poor dry soil and tolerate cool moist conditions. Plants are reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 20 to 180cm, an average annual temperature range of 5 to 26C, and a pH of 4.5 to 8.6. They thrive on a wide range of soils of ample, but not excessive, fertility. Well-drained neutral soils in regions where annual rainfall is 77cm or more are best.


  • World production of oats exceeds 43 million metric tons annually. The largest producer by far is Russia, which grows more than 40% of the world's total. Other major oat-growing countries include the United States, producing more than 10% of the total, Canada, Germany, Poland, Finland, and Australia.

  • Oats rank around sixth in the world cereal production statistics following wheat, maize rice, barley and sorghum. Oat grain has always been an important form of livestock feed. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals. Oats remain an important grain crop for people in marginal ecologies throughout the developing world, and in developed economies for specialist uses. In many parts of the world oats are grown for use as grain as well as for forage and fodder, straw for bedding, hay, haylage, silage and chaff.


  • Oats have numerous uses in food; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour.
  • Oats are also commonly used as feed for horses, where it is dehulled and rolled.
  • Oat extract can also be used to soothe skin conditions, such as skin lotions.
  • Oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed.
  • Oats make up a large part of the diet of horses and are regularly fed to cattle as well. Oats are also used in some brands of dog and chicken feed.


  • Real oat prices were calculated using the annual Consumer Price Index to deflate nominal prices.  We observe a decreasing price trend over a number of twenty to twenty-five year periods. The first cycle started with a high price of $430 per tonne in 1947.

  • Oat prices have remained relatively high in spite of a large Canadian crop. The oats contract  which generally reflects the price for No. 2 Heavy oats, is currently trading at US$1.65/bu (US$120.05/t) and is expected to average US$105-110/t  versus to about US$128/t Increased supplies in Canada, the strength in the Canadian dollar and weak demand for animal feed have pressured oat prices from about Canada $194/t to $140/t


  • Emerging research suggests that eating oats may help control appetite. The soluble fiber in oats absorbs a considerable amount of water, significantly slowing down the digestive process.

  • Oats are a valuable crop due to their unique properties. The industry pull for genetic improvement for diverse industries including feed for poultry, oat milling, breakfast cereal manufacturing, functional foods and feeding to pigs and ruminants.

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