Research projects

Harnessing new technologies for sustainable oat production and utilization

Acronym : QUOATS

Code : LK09124

Contract Period : 01/07/2009 - 30/06/2014

Project Webpage :

Main Funder : Defra, BBSRC

ORC Staff Contact : Nick Fradgley

This project integrates various breeding and selection methods with high throughput analysis of grain composition to develop oats varieties for human consumption, livestock production and industrial uses.

Project Aims:

  1. Develop the core underpinning molecular technologies for the identification of specific genes and markers associated with key traits that will increase the use of oats in sustainable production systems.
  2. Apply genomics tools in conjunction with high throughput phenotyping to breed oats that have the required health, consumer quality and microbiological safety traits and enhance genetic variation in high value compounds for advanced fractionation (‘biorefining’).
  3. Develop oats for sustainable livestock agriculture that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a high quality feed.
  4. Increase the sustainability of the oat crop through improved nitrogen use efficiency and lodging resistance.

ORC's Role:

ORC’s role in this project is to carry out field trials on an organically managed farm in Suffolk (Wakelyns Agroforestry) to characterise various husked and naked oat lines and varieties, and thereby to assist in the selection of oat lines with high nutrient use efficiency and high resistance to lodging.

Project leader and partners:

Bernard Matthews Ltd
British Oat and Barley Millers’ Association
Du Pont (U.K.) Limited
Felin Ganol Watermill
G B Seeds
Harper Adams University College
IBERS, Aberystwyth University
James Hutton Institute
Mole Valley Feed Solutions
Nairns Oatcakes Ltd
Oat Services
Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm
Phytatec (UK) Ltd
Poultry Xperience
Senova Ltd


Fradgley N (2014) Results from ORC trials: variety performance in organic conditions Presentation at ORC Organic Producer Conference

ORC (2013) Oat varieties for organic systems” (PDF 2.8MB). Research poster at Cereals 2013

Döring TF, Winkler L and Fradgley N. (2012) Oat variety characteristics for suppressing weeds” (PDF 2.8MB). The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 111: 6-7

ORC (2011) Oats: an outstanding organic crop” (PDF 563KB). Research poster at Cereals 2011

Pearce H, Döring TF. 2010. “There is nothing like an Oat” (PDF 304KB). The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 102: 5

All sources of funding:

The QUOATS project, led by Aberystwyth University (IBERS), is jointly sponsored by BBSRC, by Defra through the Sustainable Arable LINK Programme, by European Regional Development Funding through the Welsh Assembly Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Programme and through the Scottish Government Contract Research Fund with funding from AHDB and industry partners. The project partners are: ADAS UK Ltd, Bernard Matthews Ltd, British Oat and Barley Millers’ Association, Du Pont (U.K.) Limited, Felin Ganol Watermill, G B Seeds, Harper Adams University College, James Hutton Institute, Mole Valley Feed Solutions, Nairns Oatcakes Ltd, Oat Services, Organic Research Centre – Elm Farm, Phytatec (UK) Ltd, Poultry Xperience, Senova Ltd and the DairyCo, EBLEX and HGCA divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)