AUSTRALIA – The Grains Research and Development Corp. (GRDC) has unveiled the establishment of the Oat Grain Quality Consortium (OGQC), an industry-driven initiative poised to revolutionize oat quality research and enhance market positioning. 

With a commitment of A$5.75 (approximately US$3.7) million over five years from the GRDC, supplemented by A$6.7 (approximately US$4.3) million from various research and industry partners, the consortium aims to drive innovation and sustainability throughout the Australian oat supply chain.

InterGrain and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) will spearhead the consortium, uniting a diverse array of stakeholders from the research, production, processing, and food and beverage manufacturing sectors. 

Nigel Hart, managing director of the GRDC, expressed optimism about the venture, stating, “We know that the global demand for diverse and nutritious oat-based products is on the rise, and there is a clear opportunity for Australian agriculture to lead the way in quality and sustainability.

The OGQC will focus on three key programs designed to enhance Australian oat pre-breeding research and understand essential oat quality traits. 

Program 1, led by InterGrain, aims to develop an efficient high-throughput measurement method for critical oat quality characteristics, including beta-glucan, protein, and oil content. 

Meanwhile, Program 2, in collaboration with various research partners and industry stakeholders, seeks to identify desirable aroma, flavor, and texture compounds for oat food and beverage applications, thereby differentiating Australian oats in the market.

The GRDC said Program 2 aims to help differentiate Australian oats in the market by providing breeders with information on the genetic variation of taste compounds.

SARDI will lead Program 3, which aims to modulate grain oil content to improve milling suitability and facilitate food and beverage ingredient development. 

Janine Croser, SARDI’s program leader for crop and pasture improvement, emphasized the potential of the initiative, stating, “Enhancing shelf life and milling efficiency may open new avenues for Australian oats in global markets.”

With approximately 1.5 million tonnes of oat grain produced annually in Australia, oats represent a significant industry, with 25% earmarked for export and the remainder utilized for domestic purposes such as seed, feed, and human consumption. 

The OGQC aims to capitalize on this market potential by equipping Australian growers with new traits aligned with market demands, enhancing efficiency for processors, and expanding the range of oat-based products for global consumers.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.