More research dollars

GRDC funding for oats research jumped by 120 per cent for 1996-97. According to GRDC Western Panel member Juliann Lloyd-Smith, the increased investment is a response to grower demand for new varieties and increased overseas demand for high-quality western region oats. She said West Australian oats were regarded as superior to Scandinavian oats and equal in quality to Canadian oats on the world market.

Dr Lloyd-Smith said there are significant export opportunities for high quality milling oats. She said oats are also an attractive option for wool growers who want to diversify. "Oats are easier to grow and "yield more than other cereal crops in WA and prices of about $ 160/t can translate to gross margins of over $300/ha," she said.