Breeding, Genomics and Agronomy Research to Improve Oat Yield and Quality
Oat is an important, multi-purpose cereal in Canada that is grown for grain, straw, forage, or land cover. Oat grain is regarded as a healthy human food, largely due to the presence of betaglucan (BGL) and other soluble fibers in the oat groat, which have been implicated in reduced risk of heart disease, lowered blood pressure, and lowered risk of type-II diabetes. Grain yield, groat content (i.e., milling yield), and BGL content are key targets for improvement. Protein, test weight, and kernel weight are considered secondary targets for improvement. Additionally, oat millers require a groat oil content of less than 8% to meet the FDA healthy food labeling requirements. To achieve high and stable yield and quality, lodging resistance is required under high-yielding environments, and resistance to crown rust is required in some production regions.