Oats are used mainly as a feed, but the proportion of oats being used for food is on the increase. There are oat varieties with a range of special qualities, such as oats for porridge and breakfast cereals and as a health product in the form of oat milk.
New varieties with a higher dietary fibre (betaglucane) content are of interest to the food industry. An oat variety with an extremely high fat content has proven to be of interest as a feed for high performance horses.
Our oat breeding programme produces varieties for Germany, the UK, the Baltic States, the Nordic Region, Canada, etc. Breeding takes place at our breeding station in Svalöv. In Lännäs, situated in the far north of Sweden, we test our early varieties so as to identify varieties suitable for cultivation in the north of Sweden. Our branches in various locations do some valuable work on checking advanced oat material with midseason maturity.
High feed value
As a lot of oats are used for feed production, breeding is focused to a great extent on identifying qualities such as low hull content, high digestibility and high fat content – all in demand with the feed industry.
- Porridge oats
When breeding varieties suitable for porridge oats, what we need above all are varieties with high kernel content and easy de-hull, in combination with a high betaglucane content. Betaglucane has proven to have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood sugar levels in humans. We’re also trying to identify varieties that are less likely to absorb heavy metals, mainly cadmium.
The quality targets for feed oats and porridge oats have to be combined with a high yield ability and good reliable growth where resistance to various parasites is an important consideration, along with good straw strength and early maturity.
When breeding for resistance, we work mainly to produce varieties that are resistance to nematodes, mildew, crown rust and black rust. Resistance to crown rust and black rust is an important consideration for the Canadian market, while the European market is more in need of varieties resistant to mildew. In some areas in Europe, resistance to crown rust is also a very valuable quality.