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This book describes the importance of the oat crop to sustainable farming and the pivotal role
that oat breeders have in this. It describes the outcomes from the author’s contribution to the
oat breeding program run by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Agriculture from
1957 to 1974, including oat line and variety breeding and testing. The book covers the
development of high yielding, dual-purpose grazing and grain oat varieties, and the methods
used to breed and test these varieties, including trial results up to the present day. Some of this
work 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 livestock
nutrition, and as such, an understanding of the genetics of oats is significant in world
agriculture and economics. Oats provides grain for humans and livestock, a grazing or forage
crop 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 considerable
attention in the past decade, relatively little attention has been given to this important attribute
of combined grazing, grain production and total crop value in the research and extension
literature. This reflects a lack of awareness of the full potential of the oat crop. Based on the
recent findings of FAO studies, the world supply of agricultural produce is meeting the
demands of the current world population. The total world production 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 that increased cereal crop yields have
allowed 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 becoming
increasingly important for meeting the corresponding increases in global food demands. The
oat 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 for
the 3 main climatic regions of Australia. These three climatic regions or zones also exist
in the state of New South Wales (NSW). These three regions are as follows: The subtropical
climate zone, also referred to as the summer rainfall zone, and also occurs on
the coastal areas of Southern Queensland and Northern NSW (including Grafton, where
a crown rust nursery is located). The uniform rainfall climate zone which covers the
inland area of NSW from as north as Dubbo to Temora in southern NSW. The winter
rainfall climate occurs south of Temora and includes the Australian states of Victoria,
Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. An inventory of oat cultivars and their
pedigrees is presented in relation to the climatic regions in which oats are grown in Australia.