Products - Oat Groats.

What are they?
By removing the hull (the high fibre outer husk) from the raw oat grain what remains is fibre rich bran, nutritious grain germ and the bulk of the grain known as the endosperm. This can be consumed as is, hammer milled, processed into rolled oats or milled into oaten flour.

Oat groats or oaten meals can also be cooked into breads where they create a nutty flavour and add to the nutritional content.

Some general dietary points:
• Oat groats are a source of healthy carbohydrates known a Beta-glucans that lower cholesterol and are beneficial to the immune system
Low gluten levels
• Are a high source of protein 14% +- 2%
• Have high digestibility
• Are high in fatty amino acids
• Have high lysine levels

Some animal industry uses:
• Poultry and birds
• Pigs
• Pet Food

Because of the high lysine levels in groats and its high digestibility, oat groats are an excellent additive to feed rations for laying hens.

In work done in Canada, Cave NA ,Hamilton and Burrows showed that with naked oats (oat groats) replacing corn and soya meal it had positive results of increased egg size of 2% and a reduced utilisation of feed per egg of 4.7%.

Oat groats could be added to or replace wheat and soya meal in a layer ration.

Oat groats are a favoured additive to the diet for production swine being high in protein and very digestible. One of the largest producers of pork products in the world is a strong user of oat groats in their pig rations.

Scientific support shows that in paper by P. Letrme, B. Rossnagee and Patena from the Prairie Swine Centre Canada they found, after weaning, young pigs need highly palatable digestive diets devoid of anti-nutritional factors and with highly digestible energy (DE). Feed ingredients corresponding to that description is quite limited and generally expensive.

Oat groats is a favourable alternative due to high oil content. They were well consumed and digested and have the highest lysine content amongst the cereal species used in swine nutrition. (Van Barbveld et al 1998).

Pet Food
Most commercial dog and cat food contain Oat groats but why?

The nutritional composition of Oats is high relative to other grains. Oats are higher in protein (17%) with more lysine and total essential amino acids than most popular grains. Oats also carries a higher level of lipids (around 8% (ether extract) than most other grains, of which about 40% is the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (C18.2N6).

However the biggest story with oats is the appreciable amount of water soluble mixed linkage 1:4 and 1:3 of β-D glucopyranosyl. These non-starch polysaccharides are commonly referred to a beta glucans. Beta glucans are distributed throughout the seed and range from 3 – 8%.

In the gut beta glucans increase the viscosity of the luminal content. As the digesta thickens due to these water soluble beta glucans they impair re-absorption of bile acids and whatever nutrients they happen to be associated with. In human for instance beta glucans have a big role in re-absorbtion of cholesterol via this mechanism
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In General
In general terms Oat groats are highly nutritious and easily digestible they are high in protein, lysine and beta glucans. They are also high in energy 14 mj/kilo DM.