The world’s first growth guide for oats has been launched today aiming to ensure a sustainable supply of the crop to meet rising demand.
The guide, which will be available to all UK oat growers, will help farmers track their crops’ growth and development.
It seeks to encourage farmers to improve efficiency, yields and increase returns on their oat crops.
This is particularly important given existing research has found a 4 tonne per hectare gap between the average farm yield achieved in the UK and optimal yields.
The guide analysed 120 commercial crops and 60 reference crops across four different seasons, collecting over one million data points.
It is the culmination of a five-year research project pioneered by PepsiCo, owner of Quaker Oats, with co-funding from Innovate UK and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The Oat Growth Guide is targeted to deliver a 5-10% increase in yield, meaning more oats per hectare, while optimising resources; a significant contribution to creating a more sustainable food system for both growers and consumers of oats.
Unlike other staple cereal crops, R&D investment to improve oat agronomy has been limited.
As a result, while crops such as wheat and barley have had growth guides in place for years, oats have not.