Oats are used in a range of human food products because they deliver high nutritional value. Increasingly, oat-based ingredients and products are also being exploited to support marketing associated with heart health. This has led to a new wave of products on supermarket shelves and increasing awareness of the benefits of oat consumption in the mind of consumers. Reliable production of high quality foods from oats requires high quality raw as supplied by the farmer.
Grain quality is determined by a mixture of physical characteristics (e.g. 1000g weight), composition (e.g. moisture content) and visual appearance (e.g. absence of discolouration). These requirements have a direct impact on process performance in the oat mill, and the stability and attractiveness of the finished product. Oats are unique among cereals in that a large volume is consumed as essentially the whole kernel (groat), as in porridge for example. For this reason, visual appearance is important.
When growing oats, it is vital to maintain an understanding of end-user quality requirements if the maximum value is to be secured for the crop. Having the customer’s needs in mind enables sound crop management decisions to be made.