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Development of High-Vigour Oat Varieties in Australia       PATRICK MARTIN GUERIN
Copyright © Patrick Martin Guerin 2005This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of study, resear...
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND                       THE AUTHOR’S OAT VARIETIESIn reviewing “Development of High-Vigour Oat Varieties...
Having witnessed oats being successfully grazed on a family property at Lyndhurst in CentralWest NSW, and having already b...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                             The Author was born in Chile in 1928, of an                  ...
CONTENTSList of Tables                                                  1List of Figures                                  ...
LIST OF TABLESTable 1.1    Chemical composition of oats                                               10Table 1.2    Compa...
Table 3.7    Heavy (4 P cuts) and lenient (2 P cuts) grazing and grain recovery (pG)        83             at Cowra: F10 g...
LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1.1    Statistical yields of the major cereals grown in NSW                        32Figure 2.1    S...
Figure 2.11   FLORET SEPARATION distinguishes the 2 types of cultivated oats            54              which are Avena sa...
Figure 3.9    A comparison of a standard cultivar, Algerian, with five selections         97              from the High-vi...
PREFACE“An economic oat breeding program will only succeed in proportion to the breeders skill andknowledge in being able ...
release of Blackbutt (an F4 directed bulk type) in 1975, and Carbeen (an F6 plant progeny ofthe normal pedigree system) in...
ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe Author is indebted to his colleagues from the NSW Department of Agriculture; the lateDr F. Mengersen, o...
CHAPTER ONE                                    INTRODUCTIONOats play an important role in human and livestock nutrition, a...
The cholesterol-lowering benefits of oats have been attributed to ß-glucan in the oat fibrefraction. Oat bran and oatmeal ...
Table 1.2 Comparative feed grain values of oats, barley, wheat and maizea.    Nutrients                         Oats      ...
kernel occurs as phytic acid. Phytic acid may bind minerals, making them unavailable innutrients. Rolled oats, however, di...
study, an 8% drop in the serum cholesterol levels of 17 hypercholesterolemic individuals wasobserved after 4 weeks of a di...
Prevention of colon cancerThe antioxidant properties of the tocotrienols and phenolic compounds in oats should inhibitcolo...
Relevance to animal feeding and production. Oats may be successfully fed to pigs, cattle,sheep, poultry and horses. By cru...
Table 1.3 Percentages of nutritive values in oats, barley, wheat and maize.    Valuea                       Oats          ...
The weedy species of A. fatua, or black oats, also belongs to this group. North-westernEurope, including Wales, was also a...
Table 1.4 Species of Avena genus, the 3 karyotypes and their genomesa.    Diploid = 7       Genome                    Tetr...
The explanation given is that the donor is either extinct or has evolved into a different species.This depends entirely on...
and West) habit of growth. The prostrate varieties bury their growing point, tiller profusely,resist frost and grazing dam...
for both humans and livestock and these have been described earlier in this chapter. Due tofavourable amino-acid ratios, o...
Table 1.5 World population densitiesa.                           Population (P x 106)   Population (P x 106)        Popula...
Table 1.6 Food production and population growtha.                                                                         ...
Table 1.7 Changes in total grain yields and reduction in total crop growing areaa.                                        ...
Table 1.8 Annual rate of change (%) of increase in production of farm productsa.                                          ...
International increases in cereal grain yieldsWorld cereal grain yields have increased marginally in the period 1979 to 19...
Table 1.9 World land utilisationa.                                                                                        ...
While there is a link between oat crop yields and the length of the growing season, on a worldbasis (Table 1.10) (Forsberg...
Advantages of grazing the oat cropCraig and Potter (1983), however, point out advantages of grazing the oat crop: (A)Stimu...
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
Development Of High Vigour Oat Varieties In Australia
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  1. 1. Development of High-Vigour Oat Varieties in Australia PATRICK MARTIN GUERIN
  2. 2. Copyright © Patrick Martin Guerin 2005This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of study, research,criticism, review, or as otherwise permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may bereproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be made to thepublisher.National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-PublicationDevelopment of High-Vigour Oat Varieties in AustraliaPatrick Martin Guerin
  3. 3. ABOUT THIS BOOK AND THE AUTHOR’S OAT VARIETIESIn reviewing “Development of High-Vigour Oat Varieties in Australia”, I considered that itwas a very full and well documented account of oat breeding and testing in New South Walesin the latter half of the twentieth century. In correspondence with a research agronomist, whoalso runs a property in Northern NSW, she stated “---- Blackbutt (bred by the Author, P. M.Guerin) has stayed a very strong variety for a very long time. The quality of the breeding isreflected in its longevity as a preferred variety---”. I think that everyone interested in the oatcrop whether researcher, advisory officer, producer or plant breeder should read, study andlearn from this important book. Professor Haydn Lloyd-Davies Former Professor of Pastoral Science in the School of Wool and Pastoral Science, University of New SouthWales Past President of the Australian Society for Animal Production (NSW Branch) & Author of “Animal Production”This book discusses the evolution of oats as a crop in Australia, emphasising its versatilityand value to farmers and to the agricultural sector. In particular, it sets out the importance ofdual-purpose oat varieties in Australian agriculture, which are of significant value to this day.As the prime lamb industry in Australia continues to expand, and in a sense is about to “take-off”, dual-purpose oat varieties will play a significant part in the expansion of this industry.This is a book that had to be written. I believe the book illustrates clearly what a visionary theAuthor was in developing the oat varieties and lines he did. Norm Markham Former District Agronomist (25 years), New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (formerly NSW Department of Agricutlure), & Independent Agricultural Consultant currently based in West Wyalong, NSW, Australia“Reading Patrick Guerin’s book reminded me of times, as a research agronomist on theSouthern Tablelands. There I conducted numerous experiments on the effects of wintergrazing of cereals and other crops, on vegetative yield, animal production and subsequentgrain yields. This work was published in the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture,its predecessor and elsewhere. Guerin’s variety Blackbutt was always the stand-out crop formaximum combined forage and grain production, particularly in the severe winterenvironment of the Tablelands”“Congratulations, Paddy, on an important publication” Paul Dann Former Research Agronomist, NSW Agriculture
  4. 4. Having witnessed oats being successfully grazed on a family property at Lyndhurst in CentralWest NSW, and having already been convinced of the health benefits of oats as a humanbreakfast staple, it was a great pleasure for me to study each absoprbing, and very readablechapter. Without closing the door on gene technology as a way forward, his highlighting of thechallenges, Patrick is convincing in his support of the Isolection Medelian plant breeding system. Bob Fozzard, Sydney, Australia Member of the Australian Institue of Agricultural Science and Technology“I started growing Carbeen at our property in mid 1980’s. We like to start sowing in February.We often have a dry March – April and on these occasions, other varieties will run to head,whereas Carbeen doesn’t and it recovers well. With the quantity of leaf material and itsprostrate growth, our sheep can keep grazing for a longer time compared to erect growing oatvarieties. If Carbeen is eaten out early, its recovery is good. When we grow Carbeen for grain,then a sowing rate of 30 kg/ha will yield up to 2.9 t/ha, and that is under continuous grazing”.“Carbeen is a variety well suited for growing in the Tamworth region of New South Wales”. John McQueen Farmer “Colindale”, Loombenah, New South Wales, Australia“I grew Blackbutt in the very early 1980s, switching over from Cooba which my father hadgrown for years. My early memories of harvesting Cooba were with a comb front harvester,sometimes with croplifters, which was nightmarish! We noticed straight away that withBlackbutt that it had more tillers and the plants were very hardy, able to withstand the oftendry autumns that we endure on our farming area. Blackbutt was fairly prostrate in early stagesbut with late autumn rain, it emerged into a massive bulk of feed in the winter months”.“We continued to grow Blackbutt until we heard of another one, of related breeding, calledCarbeen. A friend had been growing it for a few years. We gave it a go and have beengrowing it ever since. Some of the characteristics of Carbeen have been its ability towithstand lodging in all but the very lushest of seasons, its ability to put out lots of tillerswhen sown early, and when these become erect later, they have a very nutritious broad leafthat our stock thrive on.“I am so happy with the production levels from Carbeen that I have not even tried the newvarieties or even winter wheats as I really don’t think they could be any better than what Ihave seen with Carbeen” Paul McCulloch Farmer “Danibe”, Tamworth New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5. ABOUT THE AUTHOR The Author was born in Chile in 1928, of an Irish father and an English mother. He graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from National University of Ireland, Dublin, in 1952. From 1950 he became an amateur beekeeper and from 1952 to 1955, he was a Milk Costings Officer for the Irish Department of Agriculture. He then became Lecturer in Chemistry and other agricultural subjects at Warrenstown Agricultural College, Co. Meath, Ireland. He was then an Abstractor for Herbage and Field Crop Abstracts for the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau (CAB) at Maidenhead, England from 1955-1956. In 1956 he was appointed Plant Breeder for NSW and permanently moved to Australia. In Australia,the Author was an oat and linseed breeder from 1956 to 1964, stationed at Glen Innes withNSW Agriculture. Using both established and original techniques, the Author bred Australia’smost frost resistant and productive winter grazing cereal variety, Blackbutt oats. The Authordeveloped the Isolection system of plant breeding, a technique for producing High-vigour oatvarieties. Using this system, he made a High-vigour cross in 1957, from which he bred andselected P4315, as well as Blackbutt oats, as well as numerous other oat verities. Blackbuttand P4315 both broke world records for yield in 1973. From 1972 until 1985, he engaged infarming near Temora, NSW, giving his 7 children experience of a farming lifestyle.He produced wheat and forage crops and managed sheep, cattle, and high quality pigs forbacon. He then retired to the Sydney region of NSW to return to study and writing. Thesubjects he studied included plant breeding, genetic engineering, languages, philosophy,physical anthropology, prehistory, celtic and religious studies, theology, and history. Patrickcurrently lives in Lithgow, NSW.
  6. 6. CONTENTSList of Tables 1List of Figures 3Preface 6Acknowledgments 8Chapter 1 Introduction 9Chapter 2 Australian Oat Varieties And A Germplasm 37 Inventory For BreedingChapter 3 The New Isolection Plant Breeding System 62Chapter 4 Breeding Oats For Irrigation In Australia 104Chapter 5 The Influence Of Environment 115 On Oat Grain QualityChapter 6 Plant Breeding Methods And Technologies 124 For Increasing Oat Crop YieldsGlossary 137Appendix A Australian Oat Statistics 150Appendix B Plots From A Heavy Grazing Trial 154
  7. 7. LIST OF TABLESTable 1.1 Chemical composition of oats 10Table 1.2 Comparative feed grain values of oats, barley, wheat and maize 11Table 1.3 Percentages of nutritive values in oats, barley, wheat and maize 16Table 1.4 Species of Avena genus, the 3 karyotypes and their genomes 18Table 1.5 World population densities 22Table 1.6 Food production and population growth 23Table 1.7 Changes in total grain yields and reduction in total crop growing area 24Table 1.8 Annual rate of change (%) of increase in production of farm products 25Table 1.9 World land utilisation 27Table 1.10 Oat yields, growing days, population density and agricultural policy 28Table 1.11 Stocking capacity of oats compared with other pastures 29Table 2.1 Effect of grazing oats twice, versus no grazing, on grain yield of 39 various cultivarsTable 2.2 Summer rainfall germplasm 47Table 2.3 Uniform rainfall germplasm 49Table 2.4 Winter rainfall cultivars 50Table 2.5 Crosses combining rust resistance with agronomic value 51Table 2.6 Segregation in landraces for juvenile growth habit, Glen Innes 1958 51Table 2.7 Resistances for various environments 52Table 2.8 Origin and description of genotypes developed from the High-vigour 53 cross, 28 X 23Table 3.1 Rapid method of breeding oats for large biomass yields 64Table 3.2 Morphology and pathology of parents of the High-vigour cross 65Table 3.3 The effect of grazing intensity on a range of cereal genotypes sown late 69 March in a cool, moist, summer rainfall climate: F6 generation trial of High-vigour lines (1962)Table 3.4 The effect of grazing intensity on a range of cereal genotypes sown in 70 early March in a cool, moist summer rainfall climate: F7 generation trial of High-vigour bulk oats (1963) at Glen InnesTable 3.5 Second testing of High-vigour bulk oats in north-west NSW, contrasting 76 cooler elevated site (Tamworth) with warmer plains site (Narrabri): F5 generation trial (1961)Table 3.6 A comparison of southern and northern NSW bred cultivars under 77 intensive grazing and hay recovery: F10 generation testing of High-vigour lines at Richmond (1966) -1-
  8. 8. Table 3.7 Heavy (4 P cuts) and lenient (2 P cuts) grazing and grain recovery (pG) 83 at Cowra: F10 generation testing of the High-vigour lines (1966)Table 3.8 Lenient grazing and grain trial: F17 generation testing of High-vigour 84 bulk oatsTable 3.9 Effect of multiple grazing cuts on grain and pasture yields on a range 85 of oat cultivarsTable 3.10 Grain and pasture yields from 1955 competing crop trials 86Table 3.11 Effect of a single grazing, grain recovery, total yield and grain protein 89 (%) on a range of oat cultivarsTable 3.12 Effect of two grazing cuts on grain recovery and pasture yields on a 90 range of oat cultivarsTable 3.13 Dry matter of pasture and grain recovery trial, Gunning, NSW (1999) 91Table 3.14 Grain yields from competing a cereal crop trial conducted in 91 New EnglandTable 3.15 A continuous grazing (P) and grain recovery (pG) trial in Central 92 NSW; F34 generation testing of High-vigour varities (1990) at BlayneyTable 3.16 Effect of two grazing cuts and grain recovery (Site 1) and grain only 94 (Site 2) on a range of oat cultivarsTable 4.1 NSW cereal crop yields under dryland and irrigation (t/ha) 105Table 4.2 Comparisons of early and late maturing cultivars under Irrigation in the 109 Riverina for a 10 year period for grain only (G), and grain recovery (pG) (1963-1973)Table 4.3 Comparisons of grain only (G) yields and grain recovery (pG) in the 110 Dryland Riverina for a 10 year period (1963-1973)Table 4.4 Year 24 of testing Blackbutt oats under irrigation versus dryland 111 (1985): F29 generation trialTable 5.1 Grain quality, as groat (gt %), of Australian cultivars and accession lines 117Table 5.2 Oat grain quality, as weight in grams of 1000 seeds (groat + hull) and 118 as groat %, of cultivars at four sites in Northern NSWTable 5.3 Grain quality of mainly High-vigour oats (Cross C and Cross A, 119 28 x 23), F7 generation testingTable 6.1 Isolection-bred versus conventionally-bred oat varieties 130 (Richmond, NSW)Table 6.2 Isolection-bred versus conventionally-bred oat varieties 131 (Southern Highlands NSW)Table 6.3 Yield ratios of Isolection-bred to conventionally-bred oat variety 132 (Cooba) across climatic zones from statistically analysed trials over a 29 year periodTable 6.4 Comparing features of GM crops with conventional crops 134 -2-
  9. 9. LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1.1 Statistical yields of the major cereals grown in NSW 32Figure 2.1 Straw strength of various lines and cultivars. Fulghum (F) showing 42 lodging; weak strawed Belar; strong strawed Garry, VRBke.F (W4598); strong strawed FulmarkFigure 2.2 Climatic regions of Australia 45Figure 2.3 A transect of NSW showing the Northern, Central and Southern regions 46 in NSW approximating summer rainfall, uniform rainfall and winter rainfall zones, respectivelyFigure 2.4 BLACKBUTT variety with medium panicle shape and light brown 47 grains: the longest grazing season cultivar of Australian winter cereals. Photograph is from Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983)Figure 2.5 COOLABAH is an early grazing and grain variety with medium 49 panicle shape and cream coloured grains. It is too frost susceptible for the summer rainfall germplasm list. Photo is from Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983)Figure 2.6 ORIENT is an erect early midseason variety for grain only, with 50 medium to open panicle and dark brown grains. It is too frost susceptible for the summer rainfall germplasm list. Photograph from Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983)Figure 2.7 ALGERIAN variety with open panicle and mid-brown grains from 51 Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983). Table 6.5 shows that both Algerian and Fulghum were segregating for juvenile habit of growth in the 1958 F2 summer rust nursery, confirming Coffman’s claim that the related varieties of Red Rustproof and Kanota in the USA could not be fixedFigure 2.8 COOBA is a mid-season grazing and grain variety with open panicle 52 and mid brown grains from Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983). Cooba is inferior to Blackbutt and Carbeen for grazing and frost resistance in the summer rainfall zoneFigure 2.9 CARBEEN variety with condensed panicle shape and medium brown 53 grains. A mid-season variety with prostrate early habit of growth, the most adaptable to the 3 rainfall zones. Photograph from Australian Oat Varieties by R.W. Fitzsimmons et al. CSIRO (1983)Figure 2.10 FULGHUM spiklets and florets from Oat Identification and 54 Classification by T.R. Stanton (1955) US Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 1100. Fulghum is a semi-winter type and appears to be of hybrid origin, with many traits intermediate between the northern common oats, A. sativa, and the southern red oats, A. byzantina, as judged by observers in the US -3-
  10. 10. Figure 2.11 FLORET SEPARATION distinguishes the 2 types of cultivated oats 54 which are Avena sativa, separating by distal fracture, and A.byzantina, usually separating by basal fracture. Photograph from F.A. Coffman, Inheritance of Morphological Characters in Avena, Technical Bulletin No. 1308, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of AgricultureFigure 2.12 MORPHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OAT PLANT, 55 showing panicle and spikelet, main rachis and panicle branches; rachilla and basal hairs of mature grain; spikelet showing pedicel, glumes, rachilla, primary grain and secondary grain and awn on the primary grain; culm nodes and nodal hairs and leaf margins and leaf sheaths, both hairy and glabrous. From Anonymous (1962)Figure 2.13 The Author assessing mature oat crop stands. Avon x VRFB; 56 Garry x VRBke (2056) and Fulghum (see summer rainfall germplasm inventory)Figure 2.14 Mature oat crop stands. The Author with a tall strong strawed line; 57 Avon (see the uniform rainfall germplasm inventory) and taller W4477Figure 3.1 Results of heavy grazing by sheep; The pasture cut technique using 74 manual shears at Glen Innes, NSWFigure 3.2 Tall strong straw of Fulghum (F) x Garry (Ga) (F.Ga or W4595), 75 typical of the F.Ga cross; Close up of the panicles of F.Ga, the female parent of the High-vigour crossFigure 3.3 Non-stress growing environment. A plastic covered frame for 78 establishing rust infected plants, transplanted from the subtropical station at Grafton, and designed to spread rust and determine rust resistant plants; Inspection of individual oat plantsFigure 3.4 Non-stress growing environment Fulghum x Garry (female parent of 79 the High-vigour cross showing) showing its strong straw; Wide spacing of individual oat plantsFigure 3.5 Crossing of a rust resistant line, of oat, 0600 and VRAF (W4890) 80Figure 3.6 A typical Western Australian bred cultivar, Swan, showing poor dry 82 matter recovery under a 5 grazing cut regime at Temora, New South Wales, 1969, in comparison with moderately frost-hardy Cooba and very frost-hardy P4315Figure 3.7 The Author shows greater damage to Algerian from a combination of 95 frost and grazing pressure than that to Klein 69B the Argentine oat, which showed excellent frost resistance and grazing recovery almost equal to Blackbutt; The Author shows poorer performance of Algerian compared to High-vigour line P4314. Further images of the grazed plots at Hawkesbury Agricultural College trials in Richmond NSW in 1966, are presented in Appendix BFigure 3.8 A comparison of the five selections from the High-vigour cross for 96 total biomass yield (P + pH) with conventionally bred cultivars at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, Richmond, NSW (1966) -4-
  11. 11. Figure 3.9 A comparison of a standard cultivar, Algerian, with five selections 97 from the High-vigour cross, with 5 separate pasture cuts at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, Richmond, NSW (1966). The extent of the grazing is shown in individual plots within the trial presented in Appendix BFigure 3.10 The Author at Temora Agricultural Research Station taking notes near 99 seed increase blocks. Selecting hardy, productive and rust resistant dual-purpose oats by wide spacing of plants in the Author’s Isolection breeding system, produced P4315, Blackbutt both from the same High-vigour cross; Mugga, also bred by the Author, is the hardiest of the oats tested in Glen Innes NSW, equivalent hardiness to winter wheat. Mugga was selected from VRBop x BelarFigure 4.1 A diagrammatic comparison of eight cultivars under irrigation 112 (grain only) and cool dryland (grain recovery) in t/ha (Colleambally, NSW in 1985)Figure 5.1 Grain shape and sizes of the parents of the High-vigour cross 120Figure 5.2 Grain shape and sizes of the High-vigour varieties and lines (Blackbutt, 121 Carbeen and P4315) alongside conventionally bred cultivars -5-
  12. 12. PREFACE“An economic oat breeding program will only succeed in proportion to the breeders skill andknowledge in being able to consider the project as a whole, rather than as separate entities”J.G. Carroll (1951) 1This book describes the importance of the oat crop to sustainable farming and the pivotal rolethat oat breeders have in this. It describes the outcomes from the author’s contribution to theoat breeding program run by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Agriculture from1957 to 1974, including oat line and variety breeding and testing. The book covers thedevelopment of high yielding, dual-purpose grazing and grain oat varieties, and the methodsused to breed and test these varieties, including trial results up to the present day. Some of thiswork was published in 1961, 1965, 1966, 1992 and in 2003.Chapter One introduce the role that oats play as an important role in human and livestocknutrition, and as such, an understanding of the genetics of oats is significant in worldagriculture and economics. Oats provides grain for humans and livestock, a grazing or foragecrop for livestock, as well as the ability to provide combined grazing and grain production.While the significance of the oat grain in benefiting human health has received considerableattention in the past decade, relatively little attention has been given to this important attributeof combined grazing, grain production and total crop value in the research and extensionliterature. This reflects a lack of awareness of the full potential of the oat crop. Based on therecent findings of FAO studies, the world supply of agricultural produce is meeting thedemands of the current world population. The total world production of cereals increased atan annual rate of 1.45% over the period of 1981-1990, while total meat production increasedat an annual rate of 2.87%. These trends suggest that increased cereal crop yields haveallowed for an increase in the area available for pasture and hence livestock production.Improving the total quantity and quality of world pasture production is therefore becomingincreasingly important for meeting the corresponding increases in global food demands. Theoat crop has a sigficant role to play in this increase in pasture production.Chapter Two describes how oat breeding has led to the development of oat varieties forthe 3 main climatic regions of Australia. These three climatic regions or zones also existin the state of New South Wales (NSW). These three regions are as follows: The sub-tropical climate zone, also referred to as the summer rainfall zone, and also occurs onthe coastal areas of Southern Queensland and Northern NSW (including Grafton, wherea crown rust nursery is located). The uniform rainfall climate zone which covers theinland area of NSW from as north as Dubbo to Temora in southern NSW. The winterrainfall climate occurs south of Temora and includes the Australian states of Victoria,Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. An inventory of oat cultivars and theirpedigrees is presented in relation to the climatic regions in which oats are grown in Australia.The inventory tables list the name or accessional line of the oats, their pedigrees and breeder.A description of the Austalian oat ideotype is also proposed.Chapter Three described the results of 34 years of oat breeding and testing of dual-purposevarieties (for grazing and grain recovery) by the NSW Department of Agriculture aresummarised in this chapter. A High-vigour cross (HvII 57-75) is identified which led to the1 From a NSW Department of Agriculture Internal Report. James Carroll was a plant breeder dedicated to oats,potatoes and gladioli. -6-
  13. 13. release of Blackbutt (an F4 directed bulk type) in 1975, and Carbeen (an F6 plant progeny ofthe normal pedigree system) in 1981. This High-vigour cross also produced a number of highyielding F4 directed bulk types and F2 plant progenies bulked in the F3 as a result of theirrelatively high phenotypic uniformity. The highest yielding F3 bulk was numbered P4315,which although classed as an early oat, out-yielded all other varieties, including Blackbutt, fortotal biomass, following early sowings, and over a wide range of soils and climates and agreat many seasons. The success of these oats was due to the Isolection plant breedingsystem pioneered by the Author at Glen Innes from 1957 to 1964. Other F4 directed bulkswere P4314 (high-yielding both as a winter oat and a spring oat at Glen Innes) and P4318,both of which had large grains and, together with Blackbutt and P4315, were significantlysuperior over 5 grazing cuts (including the mid-winter cut) to Coolabah and all otheradvanced lines submitted by plant breeders from Temora NSW, that were using conventionalbreeding methods during the same period. Selection of lines at the F2 generation has beendemonstrated as a simple way of forecasting wider adaptability of early generation material.Chapter Four describes why Glen Innes, on the New England Tablelands in NSW, has provento be the best centre for breeding oats for the heavy soils of the Riverina at Leeton,southwestern NSW. Plant selections made on the black self-mulching soils of the Glen InnesResearch Station of northern NSW have resulted in the varieties Acacia, Bundy, and Mugga;all now replaced by Blackbutt. Both areas require resistance or tolerance to stem rust, waterlogging, red-legged earth mites, BYDV, lodging, shattering and second growth. Althoughfrost damage is less of a problem in the irrigation areas than on the northern tablelands ofNSW, the frost resistant bulks from the cross F.Ga x VRAF.VRSF demonstrated goodtolerance to water logging on heavy soils. Blackbutt also excelled as both a dual-purpose anda grain only variety and is recommended for both northern and southern irrigation areas.Chapter Five describes the important influence of the oat growing environment on oat grainquality. Oat grain quality (grain weights per 1000 seeds and groat percentages) was found tobe an effective measure of the environmental stress imposed on an oat variety at a particulargeographical and climatic centre. The results of various oat trials conducted across NSWshow that the environment has an effect on the maturation and filling of the oat grain. Theresults compiled by the Author suggest that northern NSW (i.e. the summer rainfall zone)could be further sub-divided into 5 climatic regions, from east to west, for the purpose ofrecommending oat varieties. Glen Innes, at an elevation of 1,128m and latitude 29° 42” S. onthe New England Tablelands, proved to be the ideal climate for developing high groatpercentage and large grain size. A sixth climatic zone, located in Leeton, NSW (uniformrainfall zone), at elevation at 152m and latitude 34° 33” S., was the second most favourablecentre, but required irrigation for full grain development.Chapter Six discusses plant breeding methods and technologies and their potential forincreasing oat crop yields and oat crop improvement. It specifically introduces the importanceof hybrid vigour and a non-stress environment for higher percentage heritability selection andtherefore providing a more productive conventional plant breeding method for theimprovement of crops. This chapter draws together the results from trials presented inChapters Three and Four to show the superiority of the Isolection method over theconventional oat breeding method for development of high yielding, multi-purpose oatvarieties. GM technology and crops derived from cloning, a process devoid of hybrid vigour,are compared with proven plant breeding methods. -7-
  14. 14. ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe Author is indebted to his colleagues from the NSW Department of Agriculture; the lateDr F. Mengersen, oat breeder, for generously sharing his knowledge; Farm Manager Messrs.Eric Powell, the Farm Manager at Glen Innes, who made the Author welcome and at easeduring the first years of his settling in Australia. He fondly remembers fellow agronomists,Martin Bellert of Queensland and the late Milton Walker, both of whom were very supportivein this work; Ern Tindale and Jack Loveridge for providing the fertile seed-beds so necessaryfor genetic gains in the oat crop; Mr. I. Cole for pure seed production; Mr. Bill Uppsdell andMr. Jack Stapleton for maintaining the link of pedigree records; the oat germplasm anduniform techniques from pioneer oat breeders, the late Dr S. L. Macindoe and Mr. J. C.Carroll, previously of Glen Innes Station; District Agronomists, Agronomists-in-training andall personnel, past and present, involved in the NSW Agricutlure oat breeding and testingprogram.The Author also acknowledges other Australian agronomists, completely unknown to him,who carried out complex grazing experiments with his Blackbutt, P4315 and Carbeen(selected by Mr. Glenn Roberts of Temora Research Station), all cultivars from the High-vigour Cross, and had them published in scientific journals. Some of these people includedMr. Muldoon, who found Blackbutt to be the best variety, physiologically, for total grazingand grain of any winter cereal, under irrigation at Trangie; Mr. McLeod and Mr. Ramsey,who found Blackbutt and Carbeen were the highest producers of total grazing and grain after4 grazings at Bendigo, Victoria; Mr. Craig and Mr. Potter found that Carbeen was the onlyvariety at Kybybolite, South Australia, which increased its grain yield after 2 grazings. TheAuthor also acknowledges the efforts of Mr. G. Hennessy, who obtained a world grain yieldrecord for P4315 oats (an early maturing sister-line to Blackbutt) of 20 tonnes per ha,following two grazings, at Tamworth Research Station in 1973.The Author is grateful to his son, Dr. Turlough Guerin, for co-authoring and organizing twoarticles for the 1992 International Oat Conference at Adelaide, as well as for criticism, co-ordinating reviews, editing and assistance in putting this book together.The Author is also grateful to Mr. Roger Fitzsimmons, who retired as Assistant PrincipalAgronomist of Cereals in the NSW Department of Agriculture, for collating trial results,reading and correcting the manuscript and for valuable advice from his long experience.The critical reviews provided by several agricultural scientists are kindly acknowledgedincluding those provided by Professor Haydn Lloyd-Davies, Professor Peter Ruckenbaur,Professor Frank Crofts, Paul Dann, Norm Markham, Wayne Vertigan, Bob Fozzard and AndyRoberts. Dr. W. Jim Althom is also acknowledged for his review of a final draft of themanuscript. -8-
  15. 15. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTIONOats play an important role in human and livestock nutrition, and as such an understanding ofthe genetics of oats is significant in world agriculture and economics. Oats provides grain forhumans and livestock, a grazing or forage crop for livestock, as well as the ability to providecombined grazing and grain production. While the significance of the oat grain in benefitinghuman health has received considerable attention in the past decade, relatively little attentionhas been given to this important attribute of combined grazing, grain production and totalcrop value in the research and extension literature. This reflects a lack of awareness of the fullpotential of the oat crop. Based on the recent findings of FAO studies, the world supply ofagricultural produce is meeting the demands of the current world population. The total worldproduction of cereals increased at an annual rate of 1.45% over the period of 1981-1990,while total meat production increased at an annual rate of 2.87%. These trends suggest thatincreased cereal crop yields have allowed for an increase in the area available for pasture andhence livestock production. Improving the total quantity and quality of world pastureproduction is therefore becoming increasingly important for meeting the correspondingincreases in global food demands. The oat crop has a sigficant role to play in this increase inpasture production.INTRODUCTIONThe importance of the oat crop in human and animal nutrition has been established onlyrelatively recently. Studies demonstrating the cholesterol lowering effect of oat bran and otheroat products in laboratory animals and humans have been known since the early 1990s. Thishas been attributed to the high soluble fibre (β-glucan) content of oats and oaten bran,confirming traditional beliefs in the value of oats, relative to all other cereals. Knowledge ofβ-glucan, oil and protein contents of oat varieties, in various germplasm collections, willenable breeders to add value to all agronomically useful varieties for optimum human andanimal nutrition.The nutritional and health qualities of the oat crop are of considerable importance inestablishing the context for this book and these attributes are discussed in this chapter. A briefintroduction to oat genetics and the origin of the oat crop is also provided as well as adiscussion of the broader agricultural and economic significance of this crop globally.OAT GRAIN QUALITY AND HEALTHOverviewResearch has identified oats as the health grain for humans and animals (McDonald et al.1992). There are active components in oats which lower blood lipids, regulate blood glucoseand protect against tumour development in the colon. -9-
  16. 16. The cholesterol-lowering benefits of oats have been attributed to ß-glucan in the oat fibrefraction. Oat bran and oatmeal supplementation studies show a more favourable effect onblood glucose and insulin responses than other cereal grains like wheat and maize. Oatsoluble fibre should delay the onset of fatigue and enhance athletic performance. Besidesaddressing major diseases of wealthy nations, like coronary heart disease, cancer anddiabetes, oats could provide benefits for blood pressure and weight reduction.Oats also contain a high proportion of monounsaturated fat, antioxidants such as tocotrienols,and an amino acid composition rich in arginine relative to lysine. Antioxidants have beenlinked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and degenerative changes in the eye as well asto increased immune function (Bunce et al. 1990; Diplock 1991).Coeliac disease in human individuals, sensitive to gluten and unable to eat wheat, barley orrye (all high in gluten) can, usually, safely eat oats which contains only trace quantities of thegluten protein (Welsh, 1995).Table 1.1 shows the marked superiority of oat bran over rolled oats both in protein and indietary fibre, contrary to popular uninformed opinion which formerly regarded oat bran asless valuable.Table 1.2 compares feed grain values of the 3 winter cereals and maize. It should be notedthat high fibre in oats goes hand-in-hand with a high oil content. The oil composition in oatsis high in linoleic acid and low in linolenic acid.Oat hulls are very effective in inhibiting the development of dental caries in animals at dietarylevels of 3 to 25%. Phenolic compounds in the hulls may involve antioxidant or antimicrobialactivity (Madsen, 1981).Table 1.1 Chemical composition of oatsa. Nutrients Rolled Oats Oat Bran Energy 1600 kJ 1030kJ Protein 10.5 17.3 Fat, total 8.0 7.0 Fat, saturated 1.5 1.2 Carbohydrates 61 50.3 Sugars 0.0 2.6 Dietary fibre 10.0 15.9 Sodium < 5.0 < 5.0 Thiamine (B1) - 1.2 mga From BiLo (2004). Values given grams per 100 grams. - 10 -
  17. 17. Table 1.2 Comparative feed grain values of oats, barley, wheat and maizea. Nutrients Oats Barley Wheat Maize Protein (%N x 6.25) 10.5 11.0 12.5 10.4 Oil (%) 5 2 2 4 Crude fibre (%) 10 5 2 2 GEb (MJ/kg DMd) 19.6 18.5 18.7 18.9 MEc (ruminants) 12.0 12.9 13.5 13.8a From Welsh (1986); bGE. = Gross energy; cME. = Metabolisable energy in ruminants; d = dry matter.Genes encoding the oat kernel storage proteins, avenins and globulins, have been isolated andcharacterised. Oat globulins, which make up 50-80% of the kernel protein, resemble legumeglobulins in amino acid composition thus explaining the nutritionally balanced amino acidcontent of oat proteins. The protein of oats is unique among temperate cereals because of thishigh content of globulin, which closely resembles a major seed legume protein, glycinin(Peterson and Brinegar, 1986). Therefore oat and legume proteins may have similarhypocholesterolaemic properties. These properties or cholesterol reducing effects are higherin oat bran than in rolled oats. Thus, Ripsin et al. (1992) took 3g of soluble fibre to beequivalent to 42g of oat bran or 84g of oatmeal. This superior effect of oat bran suggests thatthere is a role for both the gum and the protein since both these components are higher in thebran. The major component of oat gum is β-glucan.Oats have long been the breakfast cereal of the Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales andthe cooler, wetter northern counties of England, the North American, Scandinavian, NorthEuropean and Slavonic peoples. More recently, the crop has spread to West Africa and islikely to become universally important with its unique value for the health of humans andanimals, relative to other grains.Composition of oat grainOats have a slightly sweet, slightly sour taste, which does not require the addition of sugar orhoney. Oats can also be blended with a variety of other health-giving foods. To understandthe nutritional significance of oats, it is necessary to look at the various constituents of oats.Protein. Oats have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals andtherefore a greater potential value to provide a substantial proportion of protein requirementsthan other cereals. Among the essential amino acids that make up protein quality, cereals aregenerally limiting in lysine. Oat protein is higher in lysine than that of other cereals.Lipids. Lipids are a concentrated source of energy, being higher in energy value thancarbohydrate. The lipid concentration of oats is higher than that of other cereals. The lipidcomposition of oats is favourable because of the high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.Oats are high in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for human nutrition. Linoleic acid is usedin the synthesis of prostaglandins that are found in all tissues and regulates smooth muscles.Minerals. Oats are a good source of manganese (Mn), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), calcium(Ca), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu). The major proportion (58%) of the phosphorus in the oat - 11 -
  18. 18. kernel occurs as phytic acid. Phytic acid may bind minerals, making them unavailable innutrients. Rolled oats, however, did not decrease the absorption of Fe any more than didmilk, which contains no phytic acid.Vitamins. Oats contain little or no vitamin A, C or D but it does contain small yet significantquantities of thiamine, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid.Starch. The starch concentration of oats on a whole grain basis is lower than that of rye,barley or wheat, reflecting the relatively thick hull of oats.Soluble sugars. Total free sugar concentration of oats is low, relative to barley, wheat andrye, but similar to maize (Table 1.1).Fibre. Dietary fibre is defined as plant polysaccharides and lignin, substances resistant tohuman digestive enzymes. Starch is the only plant polysaccharide that is digestible byhumans. Therefore, dietary fibre includes all non-starchy polysaccharides (NSP) plus lignin.NSP include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin (all water insoluble), whereas other fibrecomponents are classified as soluble. The solubility factor is important for understanding theimportance of oats for human nutrition (Shinnick et al. 1988).The significance of oat fibre and human healthWhole oats, before processing, have 20-37% fibre. After processing, the oatmeal has about12% fibre, while the oat bran, the coarse milling fraction, contains about 18% dietary fibre.The dietary fibre of oats is a mixture of soluble and insoluble fractions and the solublefraction is high relative to other cereals due to the high concentration of ß-glucans in oats.The irregular configuration of these polymers makes them partially water soluble andfunctionally different from cellulose in the human digestive system. Only barley exceeds oatsin concentration of ß-glucans, but a higher proportion of oat ß-glucan is soluble. There is awide range of ß-glucan concentration among diploid oat species but narrower ranges amongtetraploid and hexaploid oat species. The highest values are found in the hexaploid orcultivated species of oats.Oat ß-glucans are especially abundant in the bran fraction that contains the outer layer of thecaryopsis and thick cell walls of the sub-aleurone region (Henry 1987).Cholesterol lowering propertiesThe cholesterol lowering properties (or hypocholesterolemic) effects of oats have been provenin both animal and human studies. These are discussed in the following sections.Animal studies. As early as 1963, rolled oats were found to decrease serum cholesterol levelof rats fed a semi purified diet with 10g per kg cholesterol and 2g per kg cholic acid (De Grootet al. 1963). The hypocholesterolemic effect of oats was greater than that of other grainstested. In other experiments, the soluble gum fraction of oat bran was the most effective inlowering serum and liver cholesterol.Human studies. Studies with experimental animals have been confirmed in human feedingtrials. When hypercholesterolemic male subjects were fed diets containing 140g of rolled oatsdaily, their cholesterol levels were significantly lowered 11% in 3 weeks, and levels roseagain when the oat-containing diets were discontinued (De Groot et al. 1963). In another - 12 -
  19. 19. study, an 8% drop in the serum cholesterol levels of 17 hypercholesterolemic individuals wasobserved after 4 weeks of a diet containing <35% of energy from fat (Turnbull and Leeds1987). Subsequently, the inclusion of 150g of rolled oats resulted in a further reduction ofserum cholesterol levels by 5%, whereas wheat supplementation produced no furtherreduction in cholesterol. Further, in a study involving 236 subjects with normal cholesterollevels, total cholesterol decreased 6.6% with a fat-modified diet alone and 8.3% with a fat-modified diet plus 56g of oatmeal daily (Van Horn et al. 1988). This study showed thatoatmeal or oat bran ingestion may enhance serum cholesterol reduction induced by dietary fatmodification both in individuals with high cholesterol and healthy levels.Hypotheses to explain cholesterol lowering by oats. There are several theories as to how oatslead to lowering of cholesterol.The value of oat soluble fibre has been explained by dietary cholesterol absorption, bile acidreabsorption, production of lipoproteins in the liver and removal of lipoproteins in peripheraltissues (Anderson and Gustafson 1988).The presence of oat products in the small intestine increases the viscosity of the intestinalcontents, leading to a slower rate of dietary cholesterol absorption, thus reducing itsavailability and increasing faecal excretion (Lund et al. 1989). In the same study, oat brandiets increased the faecal excretion of bile acids in human subjects. Lower amounts of bileacids returned to the liver may divert liver cholesterol from lipoproteins to bile acids.However, not all soluble fibre sources that lower plasma cholesterol increase bile acidexcretion as does oat bran fibre, and the magnitude of the increase from those that do, issmall.A further hypothesis is that oat fibre-induced short chain fatty acids inhibit cholesterolsynthesis in peripheral tissues. This would result in a surplus of low-density lipoprotein(LDL) receptors, to increase the rate of LDL clearance. No single mechanism will explain theeffects on cholesterol concentrations of oat bran soluble fibre (Marshall and Sorrells 1992).Further, the effects of a high-fat meal (50g fat) on healthy individuals have been shown to bealleviated by oats. Endothelial dysfunction induced by acute fat ingestion is prevented byconcomitant ingestion of oats or vitamin E, but not wheat. As a result, Katz et al. (2001)concluded that oats are better than wheat for cardiovascular health.The glycemic effects of oatsSoluble dietary fibre in the diet slows the increase in blood glucose that normally follows ameal and is important in the treatment of Type II diabetes. Ingestion of oatmeal or oat brandecreased the glycemic index (blood glucose response relative to that induced by white bread)and insulin response in healthy and diabetic individuals (Heaton et al. 1988).In no insulin-requiring diabetics, oat bran and oat gum at levels of 8g of soluble fibre slowedthe rate of increase in blood glucose (Braaten et al. 1988). At 40 min, blood glucoseconcentrations were significantly lower for both treatments, compared to a control (cream ofwheat), and peak glucose concentrations were delayed 30 to 40 min by both treatments.Similar results were obtained with healthy individuals. Oat gum was as effective as guargum, but oat gum was tolerated better by most subjects. Oat bran with 15% ß-glucan loweredblood glucose by 40%. - 13 -
  20. 20. Prevention of colon cancerThe antioxidant properties of the tocotrienols and phenolic compounds in oats should inhibitcolon tumour development. In countries where the diet is associated with a low prevalence ofcoronary heart disease, prevalence of colon cancer is also low (McDonald et al. 1992).Relevance of the oat health factors to agricultureThe oat health factors are also of significance to agriculture more broadly and these arediscussed in the following sections.Relevance to plant breeding. This book stresses the importance of dual-purpose oat breeding,that is oats used for grazing and grain production (described in Chapters 2-6), for which themost successful centre for NSW was at Glen Innes. There is no longer a need to grow oatsonly for ease of milling. Heavily grazed oats may or may not (depending on good summerrain) recover grain with a higher proportion of oat bran, now the most sought after healthcomponent of the oat crop, both for humans and animals. Oat bran is of significance becauseit contains a high proportion of ß-glucan.Composition analysis shows 4.3-4.6% ß-glucan in rolled oats and 7.3-8.9% in oat bran(Welch 1995). The lignin (insoluble fibre) component of total fibre in oat bran was 20% whilethat of oatmeal was 27%, indicating total lignin contents of 3.8% and 3.3% respectively(Shinnick et al. 1988). Within a given oat cultivar, increasing nitrogen fertility levelsincreased groat (i.e. seed minus the husk) protein and groat ß-glucan (Welch et al. 1991).There are also genotypic differences in groat ß-glucan and this can be selected for withoutundesirable correlated responses (Peterson 1991). In oats, the β-glucan is found within thebran (or the outer portion) of the groat.Oats, belonging to the Aveneae family, have higher levels of all the essential amino acids,namely cysteine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine,tryptophan, tyrosine and valine, than the Triticeae family, which includes wheat, rye andbarley. Lysine tends to be the first limiting essential amino acid in cereals and lysinedeficiency is exacerbated if the protein content of a cereal is increased by nitrogen fertilizerapplication. The decline in protein quality at higher protein levels is less pronounced in oatsthan in other cereals. This is associated with the relative contribution of the various proteinsolubility fractions to oat total protein. The prolamine fraction, which is low in essentialamino acids, is chiefly increased in other cereals, as protein is raised by genetic orenvironmental changes. This accounts for the marked decline in protein quality observed inwheat, barley or maize as protein is increased (Mossé 1968). Globulin was found to be themajor protein fraction in oats. Since the globulin fraction has a similar amino acidcomposition to the total protein, the relative increase in globulins with increasing total proteinaccounts for the relative stability of the amino acid composition of oats over a wide range ofprotein contents (Peterson 1976). Thus, globulins account for 70-80% of the total oat groatprotein, with glutelins accounting for less than 5-10% of the total oat groat proteins.Relevance to milk production. Friesian-cross cows were fed ad libitum on grain-based diets,comparing barley, wheat and oats, all rolled. Although the oat-based diet had the lowestcontent of dietary metabolisable energy (MJ/kg), it produced the greatest yield of milk andmilk fat. Replacing barley with oats changed the fatty acid composition of the milk, bysignificantly reducing the saturated fatty acids and significantly increasing the content ofstearic and oleic acids (Moran 1986). The oat-based diet in dairy cattle therefore increases theappeal of milk and milk products to the health-conscious consumer. - 14 -
  21. 21. Relevance to animal feeding and production. Oats may be successfully fed to pigs, cattle,sheep, poultry and horses. By crushing oats and feeding them to pigs, the Author, farming atTemora from 1972 to 1985, obtained a price premium from Gilbertsons of Melbourne (meatprocessors), due to the reduction in back-fat, which was high when he was feeding crushedwheat to his pigs (both lots receiving a similar protein supplement). Oats in cow rationsproduced milk fat with an increased proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (Martin andThomas 1988).The high fibre content of whole oats limits their use to ruminants and horses, both capable ofdigesting fibre. Oats is the only cereal that does not need to be processed (as by rolling) priorto feeding to horses. For highly productive animals, naked oats have a superior nutrientcontent to wheat and barley and for this reason they justify a price premium on the basis ofleast-cost formulation (Valentine 1990).Oats are the preferred grain for horses: other cereals like wheat pack too tightly in the gut,whereas oats remain in a loose mass that can be easily digested by the horse.The two facets of the oat crop are (1) herbage that becomes richer in protein the morefrequently it is grazed and (2) grain, which is the safest of the cereals for ruminants and farmwork horses (Whittemore and Elsley, 1976). In varying proportions, any nutritive ratio suchas 10:1 (starch:protein equivalent) for dry and resting stock or 4:1 (starch:protein equivalent)for breeders, lactators or growers, can be easily attained. Even oaten straw, which isnutritionally superior to that of wheat and barley, can be used for maintenance (Welch, 1986).Oat straw is softer and more acceptable to stock than other cereal straws and has a highermetabolisable energy content than other cereals in terms of available energy. Oats pasture issuperior to native grass-subterranean clover pasture for ewe live-weight gain (Dann et. al.1974). For finishing prime lambs, daily live-weight gains of 400 g and stocking rates of 60lambs per ha were reported on oat pastures (Archer and Swain 1977).A Canadian study investigated growth performance, carcase and meat quality of pigs fed oat-based diets containing four levels of β-glucans. No evidence of detrimental effect of ß-glucans in oat-based diets, particularly at levels below 4%, was detected, lending support forthe inclusion of oats in finisher diets (Fortin et al. 2003).The high quality of oat grain and especially the biological value of its protein content andhigher calcium content are both important for humans and young growing animals includingpigs (Table 1.3). For pigs, however, barley has the ideal fibre content for fattening quickly.In summer rainfall regions, however, there is no shortage of damaged wheat. This can bemixed with oats in a proportion to give about 5% crude fibre. Oats should be crushed prior topreparing a balanced food ration, which should include meat offals, or some other source ofprotein, for pigs.Oats can also enhance resistance of animals to bacterial and parasitic infections. In one study,the oral or parenteral oat β-glucan treatment enhanced the resistance to Staphylococcusaureus and Eimeria vermiformis infection in mice. The β-glucan, extracted from oats,significantly enhanced phagocytic activity (Yun et al. 2003). - 15 -
  22. 22. Table 1.3 Percentages of nutritive values in oats, barley, wheat and maize. Valuea Oats Barley Wheat Maize Dry matter 86 86 86 86 Crude fibre 10.0 4.8 3.0 2.0 Gross energyb 16.9 16.0 16.2 16.2 Digestible energy 11.4 12.7 14.0 14.5 Digestible protein 7.7 7.7 8.3 7.3 Lysine 0.37 0.32 0.28 0.26 Methionine + Cystine 0.40 0.27 0.38 0.25 Calcium 0.07 0.04 0.03 0.02 Protein qualityc 73 69 63 58a Values based on all being 86% dry matter; b expressed as megajoules (MJ) per kilogram offeed; c biological value is highest in oats due to favourable amino-acid ratios (Whittemore andElsley 1976).In another livestock nutrition study, Flinn and Foot (1992) found oat grains samples rangedfrom 7-12% protein. Oats with low protein were shown to inhibit microbial activity in therumen of grazing sheep and needed either green oat pasture or a protein supplement.All of the varietal samples determined by Craig and Potter (1983) were 12% protein or over ina South Australian study study assessing the effects of grazing on various oat varieties.Carbeen, a prostrate growing variety, tested 14.2% protein. Such oat grain would be ideal fordrought feeding, when no ‘green feed’ is available.ORIGIN AND GENETICS OF OATSThe oat genomeAll species of oats have originated in the northern hemisphere. The cultivation of oats is notvery old. Neither the Egyptians nor the early Europeans grew oats. De Candolle (1883)ascribed a European origin to our cultivated oats, leaning on historical and philological facts.The European group of Avena sativa were typical of north-western Europe. A largeMediterranean group, sharply isolated from A. sativa, were A. sterilis and A. byzantina. Thesethree species belong to the hexaploid oats (2n = 42), and can be easily be crossed together orwith A. chinensis (2n = 42), the low yielding large naked oat from the Chinese centre oforigin.These are our most important oats for breeding, testing and extension. “2n” represents thenumber of chromosomes in the sex cells (gametes) after fertilization. The number ofchromosomes before fertilization is represented by n = 21. These chromosomes, however,each consist of 3 basal groups of chromosomes, each of which has 7 chromosomes. Bydividing 7 into 42 we obtain 6, hence the term hexaploid. This represents the genome, thecomplete complement of genetic material in a cell of this species. Here the genome is writtenas AACCDD. - 16 -
  23. 23. The weedy species of A. fatua, or black oats, also belongs to this group. North-westernEurope, including Wales, was also a centre for A. strigose and A. brevis, half weedy, partcultivated diploid species (2n = 14), neither of which can be hybridised with A. sativa or A.byzantina. These wild diploids were noted for resistance to smut, Ustilago avenae, crownrust, Puccinia coronata, as well as mildew, Erysiphe graminis.Vavilov found many varieties of A. sativa in Mongolia and northern China as well as inGeorgia and Armenia, together with A. fatua and A. ludoviciana (Vavilov 1920-1940). Theselatter two were widely distributed all over south-western Asia. Vavilov found China to be thecentre for the large and naked-grain oats, A. chinensis, genetically related to the Europeanoats with chromosome numbers (2n = 42) and easily hybridising with each other. They werefirst brought from China to Europe in the 5th century AD (Breitschneider 1881). The Authorcalls this A. chinensis to distinguish it from the small naked oat, A. nuda, which is a diploid(2n = 14), like A. strigose and A. brevis. Most of the diploid species cannot cross with oneanother, the exceptions being clauda x eriantha, wiestii x hirtula, wiestii x strigose, and hirtulax strigose as listed in Table 1.4. Within the tetraploids, only the following crosses arepossible: barbata x vaviloviana, barbata x abyssinica, and vaviloviana x abyssinica. Thisshows that possession of the same genomes, or sets of chromosomes, does not guaranteeinterfertility within the diploid or tetraploid species.Ethiopia, or the highlands of Abyssinia, is the centre of origin for A. abyssinica. Centre oforigin is a better term than Vavilov’s centre of type formation, which may have beeninfluenced by Darwin’s term, natural selection. In Table 1.4, the large naked oat created forChina, A. chinensis, is on the same line as the small naked oat, A. nuda. This is to show thatin the middle column for the tetraploids, a naked oat tetraploid has yet to be found.Many investigators, as reviewed by Legget and Thomas (1995), thought that the cultivatedhexaploid oat had been derived by a simple trichotomy from a common progenitor. This wasfound to be improbable. If all 3 groups came from a single basic species, the polyploidspecies (the hexaploids) would have to be autopolyploids but they are not. Autopolyploidsare derived by the doubling of the constituent genomes, as by the conversion of AA, thesingle genome, to AAAA. There is only one oat species like this, A. macrostachya, whosegenomic constitution is unclear (Legget and Thomas 1995). This is the only outbreeding andperennial species of Avena and the only one that is autotetraploid. All other oat species areallopolyploids. One fact is certain: the cultivated hexaploid oats did not evolve from any ofthe known diploid or tetraploid species, because the donor of the DD genome is unknown.The same is true for the hexaploid wheat genome, which also has an unknown donor.The origin of the third or D genome of the hexaploid (2n = 42) species in cultivated oatsvarieties is completely unknown. This makes Rajhathy and Thomas’ (1974) theory of oatevolution purely speculative. The discovery of A. canariensis and the magna-murphyicomplex in the tetraploid group (2n = 28) of oats is said to realize Vavilov’s law ofhomologous variation. This is said to be a structural analogy but this does not explainanything. The missing D-genome has never been found in the diploid oat species, which haveAA or CC genomes, or in the tetraploid species which have AABB or AACC genomes. Ourcultivated hexaploid oats are designated by the AACCDD genome complex. Therefore, onevidence, hexaploid oats cannot have originated from diploids or tetraploids, certainly not bynatural crossing, or ‘fusion of distinct genomes,” as postulated by Rajhathy and Thomas(1974). - 17 -
  24. 24. Table 1.4 Species of Avena genus, the 3 karyotypes and their genomesa. Diploid = 7 Genome Tetraploid n= 14 Genome Hexaploid n = 21 Genome clauda CC barbata AABB fatua AACCDD eriantha CC vaviloviana AABB sterilis: ventricosa CC abyssinica AABB ludoviciana AACCDD prostrata CC maroccano AACC maxima AACCDD damascena AA murphyi AACC macrocarpa AACCDD longiglumis AA sativa: hiemis AACCDD canariensis AA orientalis AACCDD wiestii AA diffusa AACCDD hirtula AA bizantina: strigose AA hiemis AACCDD brevis AA verna AACCDD nuda AA chinensis AACCDDa From Guerin (2003). Note that there is a large diagram on p.154 of the Author’s self-published book referred to here, showing all the crosses that arepossible within the Avena genus. - 18 -
  25. 25. The explanation given is that the donor is either extinct or has evolved into a different species.This depends entirely on the value of the hypothesis itself, that differentiation is a function oftime. The possibility that the genome donor may never have existed is not even stated, letalone the alternative which that possibility would imply: separate origin of species in thevarious Vavilovian centres. This applies both to oats and wheat, Triticum aestivum L., whichhas a genome complex of AABBDD, in which the donor of the B-genome is unknown. Muchingenious effort and thinking have gone into this work, but we have not yet exploited afraction of the cultivated oat gene pool.The significance of multigenic traitsThe history of the science of genetics has been a stormy one. The first of the great hybridiserswas Joseph Kölreuter, 1733-1806 (see glossary). He described over 500 experiments,including Nicotiana rustica x N. paniculate, which gave a very vigorous hybrid, which wassterile when self-fertilised. It was Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), the father of genetics, whoexplained the continuous variation in height in Kölreuter’s second generation (F2) tobaccoplants after crossing a dwarf with a tall parent. This was the green light or impetus formultigenic plant breeding for traits requiring quantitative or cumulative effects, as for highyielding oats from the Author’s Isolection system.Between 1900 (when Mendel’s paper was discovered) and 1910, most geneticists could seeMendel’s work as showing only discontinuous variation, looking only at his pea crosses.Mendel, however, had also discovered continuous variation, when he crossed white-floweredand purple-red-flowered beans. This gave an intermediate flower colour (pink) in the F1progeny and a continuous spread from white to purple-red in the second generation.Geneticists then began to see that alleles (pairs of a gene) had small but cumulative effectswith semi-dominance rather than complete dominance, which were behaving in a Mendelianfashion. This gave rise to the multiple-gene hypothesis. This is now one of the mostimportant principles of genetics (Gardner and Snustad, 1984). This principle has been greatlystrengthened by the use of statistical methods by R.A. Fisher in England. Fisher laid thefoundation for the analysis of variance and the beginnings of experimental design and successin comparing oat variety yields in biometrically designed trials in Australia (Fisher 1925).These trials proved to other plant breeders that yield differences were or were not significant.The economically significant groups of oatsThere are various classifications for oats. These include those based on grain morphology.One can look at the grains after threshing or harvesting and see if the rachilla or stalk remainswith the primary grain (Avena sativa) or with the secondary grain (Avena byzantina).Although the varieties Blackbutt and Carbeen derive from the same cross, the latter’s grainarticulation is typically A. byzantina, while that of Blackbutt is a 50-50 mixture suggesting itsown hybrid origin. Similarly Swan has the hybrid morphology of its sister-line, West. Swanand West belong to the specialised grain oats and therefore another mark of identity isrequired. The photograph of floret separation in Figure 2.11 of Chapter Two shows this.The early habit of growth is, however, the best indicator of economic significance. The habitof growth has a significant impact on the economic significance of oats and this is furtherdescribed under the latter sections in this book that address dual-purpose oat varieties. Thesegroups are prostrate and erect growing varieties and these are further sub-divided intointermediate, semi-erect, erect and very erect (described below). The most reliable mark ofidentity is whether the juvenile stage has a prostrate (Blackbutt and Carbeen), intermediate(Cooba), semi-erect (Coolabah), erect (Avon, Cassia, Stout and Swan) or a very erect (Moore - 19 -
  26. 26. and West) habit of growth. The prostrate varieties bury their growing point, tiller profusely,resist frost and grazing damage and are therefore dual-purpose varieties, suitable for both forboth grazing and grain production. These two groups of oats, based on growth habit, havebeen compared in South Australia (Craig and Potter, 1983). This trial was evenly grazed bysheep, which also provided fertiliser and an even grazing. Comparing 0, 1 and 2 grazings, theerect varieties yielded more grain after one grazing than after 0 or 2. The most prostratevariety, Carbeen, was the only variety to yield more grain after 2 grazings than after 0 or 1grazing in this trial. In this trial, plants were grazed by 100 sheep for 3 days to a uniformheight of 2.5 cm above ground level. The prostrate variety, Carbeen, significantly outyieldedall other varieties in grain recovery. The variety Carbeen, and the details of this trial, arefurther described in Chapter Three.The erect varieties from Western Australia have larger grains than the prostrate varieties fromthe Glen Innes breeders, and are usually accepted for milling for this reason, and the fact thatthey are grown in a drier finishing season, which does not discolour the grain. The Glen Innesbred varieties are smaller grained but are higher in groat percentage than varieties bred atTemora, Southern NSW, South Australia and Western Australia. Avena strigosa, cultivarSaia, has very small grains which give it a high volumetric weight. Saia is crown rustresistant and sown in Southern Queensland and Northern NSW coastal areas for cattlegrazing. The grains possess up to 20% protein but belong to the diploid species of Avena thatcannot be crossed (or only with great difficulties) with the normal cultivated hexaploid speciesof oats.GLOBAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE OAT CROPOverviewEconomic factors, and to some extent political factors, determine the motivation to grow aparticular crop or pasture. These factors encompass global agricultural land potential, worldpopulation and comparative crop and pasture yields. Some of the data for this study has beentaken from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations annual reportsfrom 1948 to 1992. This data has been assembled and critically evaluated by Sassone (1994)and further elaborated by the Author in the remainder of this chapter.Oats, mainly Avena sativa and A. byzantina, have an important role in world pastureproduction. Considerable research and developments have been conducted on this crop inAustralia and overseas. The application of research findings in agriculture has contributed toovercoming world food shortages (Sassone, 1994). Such has been the impact of improvedpractices in agriculture that countries in Asia, for example, are now demanding more milkproducts and meat in the diet as compared with traditional foods, in particular, rice. UnitedNations Yearbooks show that even with population increases of about 20%, the number oftelephones, refrigerators and other amenities in third world countries have approximatelydoubled. Average real incomes have more than doubled (UNICEF, 1993).This demand for milk and meat products now increases the need for more efficient means oftheir production, including improved pastures and grain production. The role of dual-purposegrain types, oats grown for both grazing and grain production, to assist these developingcountries to meet their demands in the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia, has beenidentified as being important (Guerin, 1961; Guerin and Guerin, 1992). Oats is not a coarsegrain only, or a source of carbohydrate only such as wheat and rice (Whittemore and Elsley,1976). Oats, however, possesses other characteristics which make it unique as a food source - 20 -
  27. 27. for both humans and livestock and these have been described earlier in this chapter. Due tofavourable amino-acid ratios, oats have a higher biological value than barley, wheat or maize.Along with the cholesterol lowering attributes of the grains, oats can be considered as “thehealth crop”.Global trends in population, food supplies and dietsPopulation growth or rate of increases is defined as the birth rate minus the death rate. As of1990, this value for the world was 1.7%. Africa has the highest rate of increase in the worldat 3.0% (Table 1.5). Asia and Latin America also have the second and third fastest rates ofincrease. The first world continents, Europe, North America and the former Soviet Union areincreasing at less than 1%. These latter regions have fertility rates below 2.2 children perfemale, which represents the replacement or zero population rate. Sassone (1994) predictsthat world populations may begin to decrease by the year 2050.Based on the FAO data, it is evident that world food production has increased, regardless ofworld population growth. Over the period studied by Sassone (1994), food production,especially rice and meat, quadrupled, while world population has little more than doubled. Itis apparent that farmers in the developing world have adopted many of the new technologiesand developments in agricultural science, which have dramatically improved crop yields.Intense effort by agricultural extension practitioners in developing countries have improvedthe rates of adoption of appropriate technologies for both grain and pasture production inthese countries. These adoptions have included improved understanding of the need forfertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, soil tillage practices, and the growing of improved crop andpasture varieties. In India for example, on average, the population consumes the 2,200 caloriesrecommended by the Food and Nutrition Board (Sassone, 1994). Developing countries in theFar East increased grain production by 12% while in Africa, grain production increased by47% (Sassone, 1994).Meat production consistently increased from 1981 to 199 (Table 1.6). Total cereal tonnages,including wheat and rice, declined in volume over the same period. An inference that can bemade from this data is that the area of land under pasture is likely to be increasing.World grain prices fell after 1981, while stocks of grain rapidly increased (Sassoon 1994).Supply controls were applied in most countries in the form of acreage reduction measures.During 1981-85, difficulties stemmed from depressed agricultural exports, high interest rates,and supply surpluses. In Australia this effect was particularly marked where meat productionincreased 22% from 1984-91.In the developed nations, farmers reduced grain production after 1984 because of massivegrain surpluses. Farmers of the Near East and of Africa, on the other hand, increased grainproduction by over 40% between 1984 and 1991.The expansion of land areas used for rice and meat production has broader implications forintegrating more balanced diets into the households of developing countries. Furthermore, theincreased area of land devoted to pastures reflects the potential of increased crop rotations andley farming and, therefore, general soil improvement. - 21 -
  28. 28. Table 1.5 World population densitiesa. Population (P x 106) Population (P x 106) Population Increase Land Area Population Densityb Location 1980 1990 (%) (km2 x 103) (P/km2) World 4,448 5,292 1.7 136,255 39 Africa 477 642 3.0 30,305 22 Asia 2,583 3,171 1.9 27,582 115 Latin America 363 448 2.1 20,535 22 North America 252 278 0.8 21,962 13 Europe 484 498 0.2 4,933 101 Oceania 22.8 26.5 1.5 8,536 3 Former USSR 266 289 0.8 22,402 13a Sassoon (1994); bP = Individual persons. - 22 -
  29. 29. Table 1.6 Food production and population growtha. World Tonnes (x 106) Year 1948-52 1960 1970 1980 1990 Total cereals NAb NA 1215 1566 1952 Wheat 155 222 318 446 597 Rice 111 158 316 399 518 Total meat production 40 60 107 133 175 Population (x106) 2516 3020 3698 4448 5292a Sassoon (1994) from Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN annual reports; b NA = not available. - 23 -
  30. 30. Table 1.7 Changes in total grain yields and reduction in total crop growing areaa. Cropping Area Total Grain Production Yield Cropping Years (ha x 106) (x106) (t/ha) 1975/76 707.7 1236.8 1.75 1980/81 721.8 1427.2 1.98 1985/86 715.0 1645.6 2.30 1989/90 693.3 1665.8 2.40 1992/93 687.7 1758.5 2.56a From World Grain Situation and Outlook (USDA, 1993). - 24 -
  31. 31. Table 1.8 Annual rate of change (%) of increase in production of farm productsa. World Tonnes (x 106) Produce 1981 1986 1990 1991 Change (%) Total cereals 1646 1854 1971 1887 1.45 Wheat 454 535 601 553 1.97 Paddy rice 412 471 522 518 2.26 Total meat 138 157 176 179 2.87a Sassoon (1994). - 25 -
  32. 32. International increases in cereal grain yieldsWorld cereal grain yields have increased marginally in the period 1979 to 1994. The greatestincrease was observed with the wheat crop. The increases in barley and oat yields were lowerover the same period. While the total tonnage of wheat and barley have increased over thistime, world oat yields “appear” to have decreased slightly. However, the accuracy ofAustralian oat yield statistics do not reflect actual yields because the oat crop is typicallygrazed throughout the growing season prior to harvest and considerably less stringentagronomic management is applied to this crop than to other cereals, in particular wheat andbarley (Simmons, 1987).World grain production multiplied by 2.6 from 1950 to 1984 at the same time that the worldhuman population less than doubled. The price of grain decreased over the same period andremoved farmer’s incentives to grow more. In the 1950s and 1960s, a bushel of grain wasworth the equivalent in dollar value of a barrel of crude oil. In the 1970s and 1980s, the priceof grain in real terms was approximately 20% of the 1950 price, allowing for inflation, or 10%of the price of a barrel of crude oil. Farmers in the developed world therefore reduced grainproduction after 1984.Total world grain yields increased substantially over the period of 1976 to 1993 from 1.75 to2.56 t/ha (Table 1.7). Over the same period, the total area of land used for grain productiondecreased from 7.08 x 108 ha to 6.88 x 108 ha. However, there was a temporary increaseduring this period to 7.22 x 108 and 7.15 x108 during the years 1981/82 and 1985/86,respectively.As a result of this increased productivity in grain production, approximately 30x106 ha havebeen made available for other agricultural activities including the growing of improvedpastures. This increased availability of land for pasture production has increased the potentialfor dual-purpose grazing cereals, including oats. There is evidence that this has occurred fromthe increase in total meat production worldwide (Tables 1.5 and 1.8). This total increase inmeat production, however, does not include increases due to the increased total number of lot-fed livestock and other intensive livestock industries. World-wide, approximately 22% of theland area has potential to be used for pasture. This does not include the 11% of arable land orthe 30% estimated to be utilised in forestry. India utilises 92% of its agricultural potentialwithout using the 18% of its total area that is devoted to forestry.The arable area of Australia of 48 million ha includes 17 million ha of crops and 31 million haof sown pasture and grasses. Forestry includes 41 million ha of native forest, 1 million ofplantation forestry and 36.5 million ha of protected wilderness areas, national parks andconservation areas (Table 1.9).The greatest part of Australia’s agriculturally potential land area of 419 million ha is used forgrazing. In no other country or continent has livestock production dominated agriculture as inAustralia. Hence Australia has played a leading role in the development of pastureimprovement and development of dual-purpose oat varieties. Furthermore, Australia has alarge potential to improve its dual-purpose oat and hence livestock production. - 26 -
  33. 33. Table 1.9 World land utilisationa. Forestry Area Unusable Total Area Agricultural Potential Arable Area Pasture Potential Region e.g. Desert (T) (ha x 106) (ha x 106) (ha x 106) (% of T) (ha x 106) (ha x 106) (% of T) (ha x 106) World 13,392 4,407 1,406 (11) 3,001 4,068 (30) 4,917 Africa 3,030 1,047 204 (7) 843 629 (21) 1,354 North America 2,241 627 253 (12) 374 815 (36) 799 South America 1,784 497 89 (5) 408 927 (52) 360 Asia 2,753 893 444 (16) 449 565 (21) 1,295 China 956 287 109 (11) 178 77 (8) 592 India 328 178 164 (50) 14 61 (18) 89 Indonesia 190 13 13 (7) 0 152 (80) 25 Japan 37 7 7 (19) 0 25 (68) 5 Europe 493 240 149 (30) 91 140 (28) 113 Holland 3.6 2.2 0.91 (25) 1.3 0.3 (8) 1.1 UK 24.4 19.4 7.4 (28) 12 1.9 (8) 3.1 Australia 768 467 48 (6) 419 77 (10) 224a Sassoon (1994). - 27 -
  34. 34. While there is a link between oat crop yields and the length of the growing season, on a worldbasis (Table 1.10) (Forsberg 1986), there also appears to be a link between high oat yields andhigh population density, but a closer correlation exists between high oat yields and the“nurturing” or constructive policies of the mixed economy (private and socialist enterprises)of the European Union. The small-scale, isolated nature of agricultural production, relative tourban industries in the European countries makes state aid essential. OBrien (1929) showedhow Germany led the world in this respect, followed by Denmark and France. England wasindifferent to rural problems, due to her espousal of free trade (see glossary), except inwartime when feverish efforts were made to increase crop yields.Australia has inherited the same predilection for free trade with disastrous repercussions onboth agriculture and manufacturing industries. Cribb (1982) portrays in detail this state ofAustralian agriculture. Free trade is stated to be an “optimal” policy for a small, open andcompetitive economy. A small economy is defined as having negligible market power andone that cannot influence the equilibrium prices in world markets by its trade policy.Protection may create sheltered markets and monopolies with little incentive for producers tobe efficient (Parikh et al. 1988).Fair trade, however, is necessary to protect farm families as is being done in the EuropeanUnion under the revamped Common Agricultural Policy. Countries will become more self-supporting and trade-restrictive in the future, as free trade inflicts further economic damage oncountries like Australia.Table 1.10 Oat yields, growing days, population density and agricultural policy. Country Yields (t/ha)a Growing daysa People/km2 b Policyc Ireland 4.68 142 49 Nurturing Netherlands 4.52 155 421 Nurturing UK 4.31 165 229 Nurturing Germany 3.44 140 220 Nurturing France 3.32 150 99 Nurturing USA 1.88 93 24 Nurturing d China 1.78 n.a. 105 Socialist Soviet Union 1.28 n.a.d 12 Socialist Australia 1.18 200-340 2 Capitalist d Spain 1.01 n.a. 75 Capitalista b c 1983 data from Forsberg (1985); Russell and Coupe (1987); OBrien (1929) forbackground; d not available. - 28 -
  35. 35. Advantages of grazing the oat cropCraig and Potter (1983), however, point out advantages of grazing the oat crop: (A)Stimulating tillering and increased number of grain producing lateral shoots; (B) Reducing theincidence of fungal diseases common in ungrazed crops; and (C) Reduction in lodging bypromoting stronger shoots and removing excess leaf area. Craig and Potter (1983) also foundthat nearby annual pasture carried 8 ewes/ha giving 1450 kg/ha and 1830 kg/ha feed in earlyAugust and early September respectively.Another advantage of oats was the ‘saved pasture’ on which Crofts (1966) carried 7.4 ewes/haat Orange, NSW. This was twice the rate of grazed ryegrass-clover pastures yielding 4.5 kgdry matter/ha/day and only one-fourth that of heavily seeded oats given N fertiliser (Table1.11).Table 1.11 Stocking capacity of oats compared with other pasturesa. Dry Matter Yields Stocking Rate Treatment (ewes/ha) kg/ha kg/ha/day Ryegrass-clover (A) 448 4.5 3.7 Saved Pasture (B) 840 8.4 7.4 Oats @ 90kg/ha seeding rate (C) 1680 16.8 14.8 Oats @ 179kg/ha seeding rate + 67 3360 33.6 29.6 kg/ha N (D) Ratio of D:A Treatments 7.5:1 7.5:1 8:1a From the trial conducted in Orange and reported by Crofts (1966). Records for a 100 daywinter (late May to August).Clover-grass pastures grow abundantly in early summer but very slowly in winter incomparison with winter or dual-purpose oats. Oats grow 4 to 8 times as rapidly as pasture(Crofts, 1966) during the 100-day winter at Orange NSW, Australia. This result was achievedwith the old variety, Algerian, which gave at Richmond NSW, in a separate trial, less thanone-seventh the July yield of the High-vigour oat Blackbutt. Therefore oats and pasture areboth necessary for good livestock husbandry.To further demonstrate the significance of the oat crop for grazing, even without N fertiliseradded, oats gave 4 times the stocking rate given by ryegrass-clover pastures and the drymatter recorded 18% crude protein (Crofts 1966). Crofts (1966) also found that oats shouldbe planted when the mean daily temperature approaches 18°C (or 65 Fahrenheit), which atOrange is about early March, and early April for lower elevations locations. By shutting uplarge areas of oats in early September, soon after grazing, Crofts (1966) in no time could stillrecover one tonne of grain per ha.Although drier winters are better for pasturing sheep and cattle on an annual pasture like oats,there is considerable potential untapped in the southern areas of NSW. In the winter rainfallzone at Orange, NSW, Crofts (1966) obtained a remarkable response with Algerian (liable tofrost damage in the severe winters in New England), and to heavy rates of seeding and - 29 -

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