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Assessing the impact of improved crop management on naked oat quality for poultry production

HGCA PROJECT REPORT 337

Assessing the impact of improved crop management on naked oat quality for poultry production

by

A WADE1 and C. MAUNSELL2

1Oat Services, 226 Bassett Avenue , Southampton, Hampshire SO16 7FU
2ADAS Consultancy Ltd., Rosemaund Research Centre, Hereford HR1 3PG

May 2004

Abstract

Advances in plant breeding at IGER, Aberystwyth have led to the establishment of naked oats as a viable break crop option for growers and advanced varieties of 'high oil' naked oats offer the potential for significantly enhanced performance in monogastric diets.

Oats are a cereal break crop option for growers. However the relatively modest annual production is constrained by the lack of viable markets to sustain an attractive return to the grower. The animal feed market has the potential to double the area of oats under production, whilst offering the compounder a starch based high-energy alternative to the high levels of wheat currently used in poultry diets. An increase in the cultivated area of oats would also benefit the environment through encouraging biodiversity together with the advantages of lower fertiliser, herbicide, and pesticide regimes when compared to wheat.

The Avian Feed Efficiency from Naked Oats (AFENO) project was established to conduct coordinated programme of research to test the advantages of naked oats to the grower as an economic breakcrop, to the poultry industry as an effective in broiler and turkey rations, and to the consumer in improved meat quality. This report forms the part of the AFENO project report concerned with crop agronomy, which was funded by HGCA.

Yield response to reduced plant densities.
The economic optima were between 82 and 132 plants m-2 indicating the possibility to reduce seed rates from current commercial practice. However this is dependent on favourable seeding conditions, date of sowing and the inherent lower germination of naked oats needs to be taken into account.

Effects of reduced plant densities on quality.
Reduction in plant densities gave an increase in thousand grain weight (TGW). There was a positive correlation between protein content and TGW. However oil content reduced with increasing TGW.

Effect of nitrogen timing on grain yield.
In the absence of significant lodging the optimum yield was not affected by nitrogen timing.

Effect of nitrogen rate on grain yield.
Variety, soil fertility and plant population affect the potential for improved yield from increasing nitrogen applications. On average every 1 Kg/Ha of applied nitrogen increased grain yield by 13 kg/ha. Yield responses from liquid foliar urea as a late-season application were inconsistent.

Effect of nitrogen application on grain nutrient quality.
Nitrogen management provides the grower with a method of manipulating grain quality. However increases in oil were at the expense of protein.

HGCA Project Number: 2305
Price: £6.25

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