Features and benefits :
- Oats are primarily an energy feed. Oats gross energy is higher than in wheat (18.5 vs 18.1 MJ/kg DM). This high gross energy level is due to both starch (40.5% DM) and fat contents (5% in oats vs 1.7% in wheat). The majority of its oil is found in the endosperm and oat grain contains a good amount of unsaturated fatty acids.
- Oats have medium to high protein content (8-14%) compared to maize (8-10%) and barley (11-12%).
- Oats have favourable amino acid profile compared with wheat, barley, or maize, with higher levels of all the essential amino acids.
- Oats are a good source of minerals, particularly of iron.
Feeding Recommendations :
As all feeding systems and requirements are different, it is recommended you seek the advice of a nutritionist to best develop a suitable feeding program for your requirements and feeding rations. Oat grain can be fed whole or processed (preferably crushed or rolled) before being fed to stock to improve the feed value. An important trait of oats is their high fibre content. Hulls represent about 20% of total oat grain weight (and sometimes up to 45%) and they are very fibrous. The oat grain has thus high fibre content that is not readily digested. It is a bulky feed and for this reason it can not be used in high producing systems but is valuable in young ruminants. Oat grain has high gross energy content. However, due to its high fiber content and relatively low starch content (on average 370 g NDF and 410 g starch /kg DM, its digestibility and ME value for ruminants are lower than that of other cereals (on average 67% OMd, and 10.5 MJ ME/kg DM. Also, the protein value of oat grain is rather low due to a low N content and high N degradability).
Oat grain should be stored in a cool, dry and aerated place to prevent heating and/or gas accumulation (due to germination) and condensation that may lead to mold development. Oat grain should be dried below 14% moisture and should be kept in a clean place for storage.
* Nutritional values are a guide and average values only. Values will vary dependent on genetics, environment, management systems, storage and climatic conditions.