The Project

QUOATS, a five year research project (LK09124), developed and applied state-of-the-art genomic and metabolomic tools for oat genetic improvement. It focused on the understanding and manipulation of key traits that enhanced the value of oats in human health improvement, capitalised on the value of oats as a low input cereal, increased the environmental and economic sustainability of cereal based rotations, realised the potential of oats as a high value animal feed and developed new opportunities for using oats through advanced fractionation.

  • The overall goal of this proposal was to employ state-of-the-art genomic tools for oat genetic improvement building on the Defra and RERAD SAL LINK sponsored OatLINK project which provided a pipeline for the transfer of improved genetic material into the oat supply and value chain for the benefit of producers and consumers.
  • Harnessing the unique properties of oats both as a plant and a grain we addressed some of the emerging problems with cereal cultivation and at the same time delivered an environmentally benign crop which offers considerable health benefits for human and livestock consumption.

More Info

Further research on oats is required for several reasons. Increasing global demand for cereals coupled with the increased cost of energy and fertiliser is impacting directly upon the profitability and competitiveness of UK cereal growing.  Responding to these challenges, there has been a trend towards continuous wheat rotations which increases soil borne diseases and weed problems impacting on profitability.  Producers are endeavouring to optimise their overall farm returns which has led many to grow crops on less fertile soils or in more marginal situations.  At the same time the increased cost of fertiliser N and environmental concerns emphasises the need for crops that use N more efficiently (HGCA Research review No. 63) so reducing the main environmental burden in arable crop production (Nemecek, 2004).  For the livestock sector the high cost of imported concentrates has increased the opportunity for a high quality feed that can be grown and fed “on-farm” in an environmentally sustainable manner.  The high Actual Metabolisable Energy (AME) in oat grains and the lower fertiliser and pesticide input when growing the crop means that oats have a lower environmental footprint per AME delivered.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask an oat expert