Direct farmer investment in oat research is relatively new, but the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission (SODC) recently invested producer checkoff funds into researching equine feeding practices “south of 49.”
A study estimated that Canada was losing out on 250,000 tonnes or more annually in oat sales to the U. S, horse market. A report showed that fed oats traditionally used in many equine diets had been replaced by other “lower cost” products, including commercially produced pellets.
“We need to know more about the make-up of those pellets and whether there is an opportunity for oats to be part of the formulation,” says SODC chair Dwayne Anderson.” Re-capturing even a percentage of that market could be crucial to our challenge of creating or finding increased market for Canadian-grown oats.”
Among other projects, SODC has committed $100,000 annually for five years to oat research at the University of Saskatchewan Crop Development Centre. In its first year of operation, SODC’s counterpart, Manitoba Oat Growers Association (MOGA), has committed check-off funds to the Prairie Oat Breeding Consortium. The consortium has developed many of the currently popular oat varieties grown in Western Canada, such as Ronald, Furlong, Pinnacle, Legett and Jordan.
SODC and MOGA partner with the umbrella agency Prairie Oat Growers Association to administer the proceeds from a check-off of 50 per tonne on commercially sold oats in their home provinces. For more, visit www.poga.ca.
Jack Dawes is executive director of POGA. Thanks to Holly Penner of Prairie Thunder Ranch of Saltcoats, Sask., for the photo a Gypsy horse that followed Holly into her kitchen.