Wild oats trace their origins to the Fertile Crescent in the Near East, but it was not until much later during the Bronze Age when oats become a cultivated crop in Europe. A relatively hardy crop, oats are known to be grown successfully as far north as Iceland, although they do much better in temperate zones. For example, the top producers of oats are of temperate climates, with the highest yields coming from Poland, Germany, Russia, and Canada. The U.S. also grows large quantities of oats and therefore continuously ranks in the top ten oats producers compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Oat Contract Specifications
Oats grow in more temperate regions due to its greater tolerance for rain compared to other grains. Oats are an annual plant; the top producing states in the US start planting between April and May for an early autumn harvest.
Oats are considered “healthful”. With the discovery of healthy cholesterol-lowering properties and its reputation of being nutritious, oats has garnered wider appreciation as human food. Oats are commonly “rolled” into oatmeal or flour. It can also be found in several drinks, such as beer and malt. However, oats are widely used as fertilizer and feeder, specifically for horses and cattle.
- Rolled Oats: Oats that have been husked and crushed, then rolled into flakes to make them softer. E.g. oatmeal, oatcake, porridge.
- Steel-cut Oats: Whole grain groats (kernel) that have been cut into pieces; Irish oats.
Last updated September 2015.