Birchip Cropping Group Inc. (BCG)
Peer review: Pamela Zwer, SARDI
Oats are very versatile and have long been used in Mallee paddock rotations for grazing, hay production and grain for feeding animals, but of late they have not usually been grown for grain value. Oats became more popular in 2015 when attractive contracts for milling oats were offered prior to sowing, largely driven by demand from China.
The National Oat Breeding Program, supported by industry and commercial bodies, has resulted in SARDI oat varieties accounting for up to 85 per cent of the 160,000 tonnes of milling oats grown in south-eastern Australia. One of the program’s most successful varieties, Mitika, now comprises more than 80 per cent of the oats used by Uncle Toby’s Australia in its popular porridge and muesli bar snacks. Australia exports up to 700,000 tonnes of oaten hay a year, much of it SARDI-bred varieties.
Why was the project done?
There were no current evaluation trials for oats in the southern Mallee, nor had there been any local evaluation of oat variety response to grazing since 2012 at Corack. In 2015 the GRDC Grain & Graze 3 program set out to evaluate the yield performance of a selection of current milling and grazing-hay oat varieties and to assess the grazing value, hay and grain yield in the southern Mallee.
• Milling oat varieties Mitika, Bannister, Dunnart and Yallara yielded highest, closely followed by breeding line WA02Q302-9.
• Yallara and new variety WA02Q302-9 had the greatest dual purpose value, incurring little yield penalty after grazing. provide key messages in bullet point form