Naked oats has proved to be an excellent avian feed in terms of nutritional value. In fact, oat-based feed turned out to be better than expected in nutritional studies. This has aroused great economic interest, especially in the UK, which is the world's leading developer of naked oats.
Speaking at the International Oat Conference in Helsinki, Cark Maunsel of Oat Services Ltd. said that naked oats are equal to top feed-grade wheat. Naked oats have a high energy content, with the added advantage of an exceptionally well-balanced combination of amino acids. Maunsell said that newcomers with new oil contents which differ from existing varieties are a potential alternative for feeds for monogastric animals, especially poultry.
Results from the AFENO project (Avian Feed Efficiency from Naked Oats) led by Maunsell show that the flavour and quality of poultry raised on a diet of naked oats is comparable to wheat-based feeds. According to Maunsell, the UK has a need for 700,000 tonnes of naked oats a year, which is the equivalent of the country's entire oats production at present.
Finnish farmers benefit from feed costs
Recently elected Chairperson of the International Oat Committee, professor Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio (MTT Agrifood Research Finland), encourages Finnish farmers to use naked oats, especially for feed.
"In the feed business, naked oats clearly have a competitive advantage. Farmers save on investments in that they do not need to buy a husking machine."
In Peltonen-Sainio's opinion, the potential of naked oats should be used more, since oat cultivation is something Finnish farmers excel at.
"Of the grain species on offer here, naked oats is the best in terms of quality. The obstacles to widespread cultivation have so far been the uncertain market situation and the few varieties. Now more varieties are expected, which will help establish naked oats on the grain market."
The International Oat Conference in Helsinki will continue until July 22. Further information on the Conference is available from Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio, head of the Local Organising Committee, tel: +358 40 522 1956, firstname.lastname@example.org, or information officer Ulla Jauhiainen, tel: +358 3 4188 2266, email@example.com.
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. July 2004.