Oats, which draw attention with their starch, protein, vitamin and mineral content and which is a valuable feed raw material mostly used in animal nutrition, has a more limited production amount compared to grain products such as wheat, corn and barley. According to the data of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), world oat production, which was 23.2 million tons in 2019/20 season, reached 25.5 million tons in 2020/21 season. However, it is estimated that there will be a decrease of 3 million tons in oat production in the current 2021/22 season and the production amount will remain at the level of 22.7 million tons.
By Bahadır Büyükkılıç
Oat is an agricultural plant grown for its starchy grains (seeds) and is mostly used as animal feed. However, especially in recent years, due to its nutritive value and fibrous structure, it has gained a remarkable interest for human consumption compared to previous years.
Oat grains, which contain plenty of starch, protein, vitamins, and minerals, are considered a very good feed raw material for all kinds of animals. While oat grains are primarily used as groats or grind in ovine and bovine feed rations, their stems and leaves are also used as roughage.
According to some studies, avenin protein in oat grain ensures the development of young organisms, strengthens the muscles, increases the productivity of dairy cows, prevents chickens from pecking each other’s feathers and contributes to the reduction of chick mortality. However, the amount of production of this valuable grain product in the world is very limited compared to other grain products such as wheat, corn and soybean. According to the data of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), oat production is between 22 and 25 million tons in the world every year. This is extremely low when compared to corn, whose production amount exceeds 1.1 billion tons in the world.
CURRENT PRODUCTION DATA AND 2021/22 OUTLOOK
The production of oats in the world is quite low compared to other grain varieties. According to the data of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, world oat production is between 22 and 25 million tons.
According to the data in the report entitled “Grain: World Markets and Trade Report” published by USDA in October 2021, world oat production, which was 22.1 million tons in 2018/19 season, reached 23.2 million tons in 2019/20 season and 25.5 million tons in 2020/21 season. However, it is noteworthy that there has been a significant decrease in oat production in the current 2021/22 season. The USDA data indicates that global oat production will decrease by 3 million tons and will be realized as 22.7 million tons. Drought in many regions around the world is thought to have an important impact on this decline.
Considering the shares of countries in world oat production, it is seen that the European Union ranks first. According to USDA’s 2020/21 data, the EU, which ranks first in world oat production with 8.4 million tons, is followed by Canada with 4.5 million tons, Russia with 4.1 million tons, Australia with 1.6 million tons, and the United Kingdom with 1 million tons. Forecasts for the 2021/22 season indicate that production in the EU will decline to 8.2 million tons. While it seems that production in Russia will remain at almost the same levels, it is seen that the biggest decrease in production will be experienced in Canada by approximately 2.2 million tons (to 2.3 million tons).
RATIO OF PRODUCTION TO CONSUMPTION
According to USDA data, world oat consumption, which was 23 million tons in 2018/19 season, was approximately 1 million tons above 22 million tons of production. This caused a slight decrease in stocks in the 2018/19 season. Global oat consumption, which was around 23 million tons in the 2019/20 season, reached 24.8 million tons in the 2020/21 season. However, in these two seasons, consumption remained below the amount of production again thanks to a slight increase in production.
Forecasts for the 2021/22 season point to a decrease in both production and consumption. However, the expectation of a decrease in production (2.8 million tons) is much higher than the expectation of a decrease in consumption (1.3 million tons). This means that approximately 1.5 million tons of stocks will be used in the current season.
When we look at the oat consumption in the world on a national basis, it is seen that countries such as the EU, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom are among the top 10 countries in consumption as well in production.
According to USDA data, oat consumption in the 2020/21 season is 8.2 million tons in the EU, 4 million tons in Russia, 2.3 million tons in the USA, 2.3 million tons in Canada, 1.1 million tons in Australia, and around 1 million tons in the United Kingdom. It is estimated that almost all of these countries will consume in similar rates (with some slight decline) in the 2021/22 season.
HIGHLIGHTS IN WORLD OAT TRADE
According to USDA data, world oat trade, which was 2.3 million tons in 2018/19 season, reached 2.6 million tons in 2019/20 season. The USDA estimates that the trade reached 2.7 million tons in the 2020/21 season. In the forecast for 2021/22, it is predicted that the amount of oats subject to world trade will decrease to 2.1 million tons with a decrease of 560 thousand tons.
The ranking of leading countries in international oat trade has not changed much in the last few seasons. Canada, Australia, the EU, the United Kingdom and Russia lead the way in exports. It is estimated that Canada, which is estimated to have exported 2 million tons in the 2020/21 season, will experience a decline in exports in the current season and export 1.1 million tons in parallel with the expectations of a decrease in production. In the same period, it is forecast that Australia will export 600 thousand tons of oats, the EU will export 200 thousand tons, the United Kingdom will export 115 thousand tons and Russia will export 100 thousand tons of oats.
On the imports side, many countries contribute to the world oat trade with limited imports. The USA, the biggest importer, imports approximately 1.5 million tons of oats every year and it is followed by China with 300 thousand tons and Mexico with 100 thousand tons. Import amounts of other countries are around 50 thousand tons and below.