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Oat forage


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Common names 

Oat, common oat [English]; avoine, avoine commune, avoine cultivée [French]; avena [Spanish]; aveia-comum [Portuguese]; havre [Danish, Norwegian, Swedish]; haver [Dutch, Indonesian, Javanese]; Hafer [German]; avena comune [Italian]; sareen [Somali]; oti [Swahili]; obena [Tagalog]; Beyaz yulaf [Turkish]; Yến mạch [Vietnamese]; ኣጃ [Amharic]; الشوفان [Arabic]; 燕麦 [Chinese]; Βρώμη [Greek]; שיבולת-שועל [Hebrew]; जई [Hindi]; エンバク [Japanese]; ತೋಕೆ ಗೋಧಿ [Kannada]; 귀리 [Korean]; ഓട്സ് [Malayalam]; جو دو سر [Persian]; ਜਵੀ [Punjabi]; Овёс кормово́й, Овёс обыкнове́нный [Russian]; காடைக்கண்ணி [Tamil]; ข้าวโอ๊ต [Thai]

  • Product names: oat forage, whole crop green oats, fodder oat, oat pasture, oat hay, oaten hay, oat silage, oatlage, oat balage, oat baleage, oat straw

The oat plant (Avena sativa L.) is an annual grass grown primarily for its grain, which is one of the major cereal grains worldwide (see the Oats datasheet). In industrialised countries, oats are grown either for grain or for forage, while in other regions, and particularly in developing countries, oats are first grown for forage and then allowed to recover for grain harvest (Suttie et al., 2004).


The oat plant grows to a height of 1.2 m. It has a fibrous root system. Its culms are erect, smooth, and hollow. The leaves are linear, alternate, and acuminate. Leaf blades are 15-40 cm long and 0.6-1.5 cm broad. The inflorescence is a terminal, loose, curved, and branched panicle that bears solitary and pendulous spikelets. The spikelets have generally two overlapping husks (glumes). The fruit is a hairy cylindrical and slightly ridged caryopsis, 0.6 to 0.8 cm in length, enclosed in hulls which are difficult to remove (Ecoport, 2013RBG Kew, 2013).


Oat forage is mainly used for livestock feeding. It may be grazed, cut-and-carried, made into hay, silage or balage. The oat crop may be used as a winter cover to protect soil from erosion and to trap N that would otherwise be lixiviated during winter (SARE, 2008CAM, 2011). Vetch-oat forage mixtures are particularly popular in the Mediterranean Basin (Suttie et al., 2004).


Oats are grown in more than 50 countries but statistics are only concerned with the grain. Oat forage rarely enters the commercial market, although in some areas oats are grown as a dual purpose crop (grain and forage). However, there is no reliable estimation of worldwide oat forage acreage and production (Suttie et al., 2004).

Oats are mostly found between 45-65° N and 20-46° S (Stevens et al., 2004). They are grown as a spring-growing or autumn-growing crop in the cooler and moister areas of temperate regions and as a cool season crop in Mediterranean and tropical areas. In tropical areas, high altitudes are suitable. For example in Ethiopia and Kenya, oats are grown above an altitude of 1600 m but do their best above 2000 m (Assefa, 2006Suttie et al., 2004). Oats grow on a wide range of soils at temperatures ranging from 5 to 26°C and in regions with rainfall over 500 mm (Ecoport, 2013Assefa, 2006). However, the oat crop is not as winter-hardy as wheat. Hot and dry weather just before heading is deleterious to seed yield. Oats do better in loam soils but tolerate acidic and low fertile soils with pH ranging from 4.5 to 8.6. Oats have some salt tolerance (Assefa, 2006; Suttie et al., 2004Mishra et al., 1986 cited by Ecoport, 2013).

Because it does not require sophisticated equipment to grow and harvest, oat forage has become a major crop in regions such as the Himalayas (Pakistan, North India and neighbouring countries), the southern cone of South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) and North Africa. On the contrary, oat forage has declined in areas, notably temperate ones, where mechanized agriculture and maize grown for silage are possible (Suttie et al., 2004).

Forage management 

Oat-legume associations

Oat forage is often sown in mixture with a legume such as vetch (Vicia spp.), pea or berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum) (Ross et al., 2004Undersander, 2003Hechmi, 1999Johnston et al., 1999). Intercropping oats with legumes is effective for reducing diseases, suppressing weeds, capturing a greater share of available resources and improving the nutritive (protein) value of the crop compared to oats alone, though DM yields are not necessarily improved (Bagg et al., 2013; Erol, 2009; Undersander, 2003; Johnston et al., 1999). Oat-vetch associations are important in the Mediterranean Basin, though they have declined during the 2000s in the Maghreb due to the high cost and non-availability of vetch seeds, making a more complex crop management system necessary (Anil et al., 1998Suttie et al., 2004).

Oat forage as sole crop

Oat forage sown as sole crop may be managed in different ways:

  • In grain production systems, early-planted and well-managed spring oat forage is a good rotation crop that provides feed to livestock and limits weed populations. Worldwide, most oat forage production comes from spring cultivars (Suttie et al., 2004).
  • In cold areas, winter oats should be sown in summer or late summer to become well established before winter and to provide good quality forage (Bagg et al., 2013). However, winter oats are not as winter hardy as wheat and their forage yield may be lower than that of other small grains (Ditsch et al., 2005). Oats are prone to rust when seeded in autumn. They may be a reservoir of rust for subsequent spring cereals (Malik et al., 2011).
  • In warmer areas, spring oats should be sown in autumn to avoid summer heat and drought (Suttie et al., 2004). In these regions, oats provide forage when the DM of warm season perennial forages is reduced (Stevens et al., 2004).

Oat forage yields are very variable, depending on year and location. Average DM yields range from 4 to 15 t/ha, but much higher yields have been obtained (Assefa, 2006). In Pakistan, yields up to 18 t DM/ha have been reported (Bakhsh et al., 2007Hechmi, 1999). Stage of growth at cutting and environmental conditions play an important role in determining yield (Malik et al., 2011). Spring oats are the first forage that can benefit from high moisture and cool temperature during early spring, and they provide fodder as early as one month after sowing even in cool conditions (Mues, 2011). For best quality and good regrowth, oat crops should be cut or grazed lower than 12-15 cm in height (DAFF, 2012). Cutting or grazing can be repeated after a one-month rest (Reed, 2009).

Oat pasture

Using oat forage prior to grain production is a valuable way of managing oats. This method may avoid crop lodging and decrease foliage fungal diseases (DAFF, 2012Hennessy et al., 2009). If grazing or mowing stops before first node elongation in the growing period, oat grain production and quality are not hampered. Grain yield decreases beyond this point, or when the crop undergoes heavy grazing (DAFF, 2012). Winter oats sown during early spring provide higher DM yields than spring oats but will be ready for grazing later than spring oats (MAFRI, 2013). Oat forage sown during spring outyields barley DM production but has a lower nutritive value (Suttie et al., 2004). However, grazing oats in autumn provides a system whereby cows can substantially improve their body condition when perennial forages are of poorer quality and limited supply (McCartney et al., 2004).

Oats should not be grazed when the soil is very wet as the crown and root will be damaged and regrowth will be slow and reduced (DAFF, 2012). Light continuous grazing (2 cattle heads or 15 weaned lambs per ha) is recommended for optimal animal performance and good stand regrowth (DAFF, 2012Hennessy et al., 2009). Oat pasture can be striped-grazed along a wide front. Use of a back fence can maximise regrowth (Reed, 2009).

Swath grazing

Swath grazing of oat forage or oat/legume mixes is a way to increase the grazing season in northern areas and has been developed during the last decade. Oats intended for swath grazing must be sown in early summer and cut in early autumn, or sown in summer and best cut at the boot stage (when the head start to swell) for optimum nutritive value, or, for maximum yield, when the grain contains 35% moisture (MAFRI, 2013). When oat forage is sown late, care should be taken to prevent diseases, such as rust, by using resistant cultivars or by appropriate fungicidal treatment (Scott, 2006). Oat forage can then be grazed through the autumn and winter, even under 0.5 m snow. Oat forage quality within the swath is preserved until the end of April. A mixture of oats and peas had a similar nutritive value to oats alone (Aasen et al., 2004). Swath grazing of oats in winter is one of the management systems that can lower the cost of wintering cows by up to 50% because it requires less work and less equipment than making silage or hay (Hutton et al., 2004). 

Cut-and-carry oats

Cut-and-carry systems are much used by smallholder farmers in developing countries. Cut-and-carry oat forage has several advantages: there is less waste than in grazed pastures, cutting height is properly managed and subsequent regrowth is favoured (Suttie et al., 2004).

Oat hay

When oat forage is intended for hay, the level of N fertilizer should not be too high as excess N increases stem fibre levels (ADF and NDF) and decreases water soluble carbohydrates. Cutting at the milky dough stage is the best compromise between high yield and high quality (Malik et al., 2011). After multiple cuts, the leaf:stem ratio decreases and the stems increase in thickness. A high sowing rate (up to 80 kg/ha) will improve the quality of hay by helping to reduce the thickness of stems (DAFF, 2012).

Oat silage

Oats are one of the main cereal forages used for silage in Northern America. In European countries, oat forage is mostly used for silage and haylage (Suttie et al., 2004). Oat yields more silage or green forage per ha than any other cereal crop, especially when fertilized with nitrogen (Hartman, 2000; Mahli et al., 1987 cited by Fraser et al., 2004). Oats can provide one of the best low-cost emergency forages (balage) after drought if timely rainfall is received for germination and growth (Bagg, 2012).

Oat forage intended for silage can be harvested at boot, milky dough or soft dough stage. When cut at boot stage, oat silage has a low DM, high palatability, high energy and high protein content. Wilting is necessary to reduce moisture and to prevent sewage during ensiling. When cut at the dough stage, oat silage has more DM and a higher energy value, but a lower protein content and palatability (Mickan, 2006). The choice of harvesting stage should be guided by animal requirements: boot stage when high nutritive value is required, such as for lactating dairy cows, and soft dough stage when forage quantity is required, for example in late pregnancy (Barnhart, 2011). Whether to cut oats at the milky dough stage or soft dough stage is much debated and depends on local conditions and requirements.

When silage is made at the dough stage, water soluble carbohydrates are lower and fermentation does not start easily. Because the thickness and hollowness of oat stems impedes the compressing necessary for anaerobic conditions, it is recommended to chop oat forage to a length of 10-20 mm (Suttie et al., 2004). Urea, enzymes and inoculants have been shown to improve aerobic stability, the fall in pH and lactic acid production in oat silage, which improve feed intake and milk production (Meeske et al., 2002).

Oat straw

Oat straw can be offered as sole roughage during winter provided it is adequately supplemented (Hamilton, 2010) (see also the Straws datasheet).

Environmental impact 

No-till management systems and low N requirements

Oats can be grown in environment-friendly no-till production systems and have low N requirements (60 kg/ha) in those systems (Lafond et al., 2013).

Companion and cover crop

In the Northern USA, oats seeded with a companion legume during spring can provide hay or grain and excellent straw, while the legume remains as a summer or autumn cover crop. However, the climbing growth habit of vines such as vetch (Vicia spp.) can contribute to lodging and make the harvesting of the oat grain difficult (SARE, 2008).

Weed controller

Because of their good tillering capacity, oats are more competitive to weeds than other cereals. They deprive weeds of light and smother them efficiently while requiring less herbicides, which have deleterious effects on oat yields and on the environment (DAFWA, 2006).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Whole-crop oat forage has a highly variable composition, depending on the stage of maturity, climate and other parameters. In France, crude protein varied between 12.0% (DM) at ear formation and 6.3% at the dough stage, and was generally lower than for wheat and barley forage at the same stage of maturity. Fibre values at ear formation are high (NDF 51% DM, ADF 28% DM) and tend to peak at flowering (NDF 64% DM, ADF 38% DM), before decreasing at the dough stage (NDF 55% DM, ADF 31% DM) (INRA, 2007). Starch content increases from less than 1% to more than 25% DM when the grain is mature.

Potential constraints 

Nitrate poisoning

The oat plant is prone to accumulate N and may cause nitrate poisoning in livestock, especially when it is harvested at the flowering stage, or if the plant has been stressed by frost or drought, particularly when followed by rain (SARE, 2008Suttie et al., 2004). Ensiling, which reduces N levels by 40 to 60% during fermentation, may help to reduce this risk (Suttie et al., 2004).

Winter tetany

Oat forage grown during drought or on acidic soils can have a high K content, which hinders Mg absorption, resulting in winter tetany in cattle, particularly in high producing cows in early lactation or in late pregnancy. The symptoms are nervousness and irritability, and eventually extreme excitement and violent convulsions. It is possible to prevent winter tetany using mineral supplements rich in calcium (15%) and/or magnesium (6-8%) (Andrae, 2007Fraser et al., 2004).

Digestive and bowel occlusion in horses

Oat straw has been reported to cause digestive and bowel occlusions (phytobezoars) in horses (Kohnke et al., 1999).


The nutritional value of oat forage for ruminants is generally lower than that of other whole-crop cereal forages, notably barley and wheat. However, in situations where oats outyield barley in the field, oats may be a more economical forage crop if supplemented with grain (McCartney et al., 1994).

Oat silage

Oat silage, like other whole-crop cereal silages, differs from grass silage in that the NDF concentration does not increase after heading, but remains constant or even decreases. However, starch content increases, resulting in OM digestibility values that remain high after heading (Wallsten et al., 2009; Nadeau, 2007). OM digestibility decreases with maturity (from 68% at heading to 61-63% at the early milk or early dough stage), which has been explained by a decrease in NDF digestibility (from 70% at heading to 51% at the early dough stage). This is compensated by an increase in starch content from 7 to 14% of the DM (Wallsten et al., 2010). The DM intake in 350 kg dairy heifers fed only oat silage increased with plant maturity (from 1.6 kg/100 kg LW at heading, or early milk stage, to 2.0 kg/100 kg LW at the early dough stage), due to the low water content of the silage in the earlier stages (Wallsten et al., 2009) .

The digestibility of oat silage is generally lower than that of barley silage, as observed with sheep (McCartney et al., 1994), with dairy cows fed a total mixed ration (50% concentrate, Khorasani et al., 1993), and with heifers fed silage only (Wallsten et al., 2010Christensen et al., 1977b). The differences in in vivo OM digestibility between oat and barley silages were similar with sheep (61 vs. 66%, McCartney et al., 1994) and heifers (63 vs. 68%, Wallsten et al., 2010). This difference was attributed to a lower digestibility of NDF, which could be due to a lower seed DM in oats compared to barley (McCartney et al., 1994), and to a lower starch content (Nadeau, 2007). Intakes of oat or barley silages were found to be similar, for example in heifers fed a limited amount of rolled barley (McCartney et al., 1994), and in mid-lactation cows fed a total mixed ration (50% concentrate, Khorasani et al., 1993). However, oat silage intake was lower than that of barley with sheep fed silage only (McCartney et al., 1994) or with early lactating cows fed a total mixed ration (Khorasani et al., 1993). In steers fed only silage, oat silage intake was higher than for barley silage (Christensen et al., 1977a). Milk production of dairy cows was similar with oat or barley silage, but milk protein and lactose content were lower with oat silage (Khorasani et al., 1993). Oat silage also gave lower average daily gains in growing steers (Oltjen et al., 1980). It has been concluded that when oats outyield barley, oats may be a more economical crop when supplemented with grain (McCartney et al., 1994).

Compared with other whole crop silages, OM digestibility of oat silage has been reported to be lower than that of triticale silage in sheep, whereas oat silage intake was generally higher in both heifers and sheep (McCartney et al., 1994). However, in dairy cows fed a large amount of concentrate, no differences in either OM digestibility or intake could be observed (Khorasani et al., 1993). Oat silage had a lower in vitro OM digestibility compared to wheat silage (Nadeau, 2007) but a higher intake in steers (Christensen et al., 1977a). In dairy cows fed a large amount of concentrate, the digestibility and intake of oat silage were lower than those of alfalfa silage (Khorasani et al., 1993). In steers fed only silage, the digestibility of oat silage was lower than that of maize silage (Christensen et al., 1977a) but higher than that of rye silage (Christensen et al., 1977b).

Oat hay and oat-vetch hay

Comparisons of whole crop cereal hays gave results similar to those observed with cereal silages. The digestibility of oat hay in sheep was comparable to that of triticale hay, higher than that of rye hay and lower than that of barley hay, all harvested at a comparable stage. DM intake of oat and triticale hays was higher than that of barley and rye hays (Andueza et al., 2004). Oat hay fed alone can sustain moderate weight gain in sheep (Umunna et al., 1995), and supplementation of oat hay with moderate quantities of forage legume can help to increase intake, body weight gain and N retention in sheep even though diet DM digestibility is not affected.

Intercropping oats with forage legumes such as vetch improves both the quantity and the quality of the hay (Khalili et al., 1992; Mpairwe et al., 2003a; Umunna et al., 1995). Supplementation of oat-vetch hay with concentrates or with a high protein forage legume hay increased milk production in crossbred cows (Bos Taurus × Bos indicus) (Khalili et al., 1994Khalili et al., 1992; Mpairwe et al., 2003a; Mpairwe et al., 2003b).

Oat pasture

Oat pastures can be grazed by ruminants (Arelovich et al., 2003; Bargo et al., 2001). Energy supplementation has been shown to increase average daily gain of beef heifers grazing oat pasture. As the protein content of oat pasture can be too low to allow high production levels, protein supplementation can help to increase performance (Arelovich et al., 2003).

Oat straw

The in vitro DM digestibility of oat straw was found to be lower than that of barley straw (Lopez et al., 2005), and its rumen degradability to be lower than that of wheat straw (Shand et al., 1988). Intake of oat straw fed alone to 255 kg heifers was low (1.5% LW) (Fishwick et al., 1973). In vivo digestibility measured in sheep was also low (less than 50%) (Moss et al., 1990). As with other straws, treating oat straw with NaOH improved its digestibility (Moss et al., 1990; Orskov et al., 1983). 


The traditional practice of raising pigs outdoors on forage and pasture has been coming back in numerous countries as an alternative approach to pig farming. However, cereal pastures are too fibrous for young pigs and may not supply enough protein and energy for growth. In all cases, free access to concentrates plus mineral and vitamin supplementation may be required (Blair, 2007). Oats sown in spring or autumn can be grazed after 2 or 3 months and support 25-30 pigs (45 kg)/ha (Duval, 1993).


Fresh oat forage

Fresh oat forage cut at the pre-flowering stage was used as the only feed to provide maintenance for rabbits (Deshmukh et al., 1990). The digestibilities of DM, protein and crude fibre were relatively high for a forage (60, 78 and 32% respectively). In India, fresh oat forage (300 g/head/d) was used successfully as a source of forage supplemented with a concentrate in a diet for Angora rabbits (Neupane et al., 2010). In Tunisia, a fresh oat-vetch forage mix (30% vetch and 70% oat) supported satisfactory growth and long-term reproduction of rabbits, in a feeding system where the forage was offered ad libitum in rack-feeders, together with limited access to pasture. However, growth and breeding performance improved when a concentrate diet or cereal grains were also available (Kennou, 1990; Kennou et al., 1990a; Kennou et al., 1990b).

Oat-vetch silage

In Tunisia, oat-vetch silage distributed ad libitum to growing rabbits reduced forage intake by 50% compared to fresh oat-vetch forage, and thus does not seem advisable for rabbit feeding (Kennou et al., 1990a).

Oat hay

Oat hay is used as a source of fibre in complete balanced feeds in many rabbit studies (Furlan et al., 1997; Scapinello et al., 1995). While inclusion rate is usually about 15% (Arruda et al., 2000), it has been possible to include oat hay up to 50% in rabbit diets without deleterious effects (Bhatt et al., 2001).

Horses and donkeys 

Oat hay

Oat hay is commonly used in horse feeding. Due to its low protein content, it is necessary to supplement the diet with protein sources such as alfalfa or other legume hays. Oat hay should be cut in the soft dough stage as there is less shattering of grain and the hay is more nutritious, and lower in fibre (Cunha, 1991). A problem with oat hay is that horses tend to select and eat the grain heads and leave the stems behind (Pavia et al., 2011).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 89.2 3.7 80.1 95.3 18  
Crude protein % DM 9.1 2.8 4.9 14.7 35  
Crude fibre % DM 34.0 4.2 28.7 44.3 14  
NDF % DM 61.7 6.8 51.0 73.6 26  
ADF % DM 38.1 3.5 31.6 42.3 22  
Lignin % DM 4.2 1.1 2.1 6.5 20  
Ether extract % DM 2.2 1.0 0.9 3.9 10  
Ash % DM 8.3 1.4 5.8 11.0 29  
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 17.7   17.2 18.2 2  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.0         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 4.7 1.6 1.5 6.3 7  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.0 1.3 1.0 4.0 7  
Potassium g/kg DM 20.3       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 8.0       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 2.0       1  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 8.7       1  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 0.5       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 60.1 8.7 53.0 81.1 19 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 56.7         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.2         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.3         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 66.9 13.4 47.7 90.0 12  
a (N) % 51.7   51.0 52.4 2  
b (N) % 28.6   27.8 29.4 2  
c (N) h-1 0.074   0.048 0.100 2  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 70   67 72 2 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 67   64 70 2 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abeysekara, 2003; Alcalde et al., 2011; Alibes et al., 1990; Andueza et al., 2004; Arieli et al., 1989; Castagnara et al., 2012; Egan, 1974; Fadel, 1992; FUSAGx/CRAW, 2009; Grimit, 1984; Hart et al., 1990; Hogan et al., 1969; Khazaal et al., 1995; Meschy, 2010; Nsahlai et al., 1996; Paduano et al., 1995; Priolo et al., 2005; Ravi et al., 2000; Sehu et al., 1998; Sekine et al., 2000; Umunna et al., 1995; Valentine et al., 1988; Vargas et al., 1965; Walker, 1975; Weston, 1989

Last updated on 03/02/2015 16:00:29

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 26.3 6.7 14.1 38.3 43  
Crude protein % DM 10.5 4.1 5.8 26.2 66  
Crude fibre % DM 30.2 3.5 21.5 34.7 37  
NDF % DM 54.2 8.1 34.2 65.6 37  
ADF % DM 31.0 6.3 19.6 39.3 37  
Lignin % DM 4.5 1.1 3.3 6.1 10  
Ether extract % DM 3.4 1.0 2.0 4.7 21  
Ash % DM 10.1 1.8 7.0 14.5 58  
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 4.9 4.1 0.6 13.7 7  
Water-soluble carbohydrates % DM 7.1 3.2 3.2 15.7 14  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.0         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 3.8 1.3 2.1 6.4 30  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.2 0.3 1.5 2.8 34  
Potassium g/kg DM 22.2 6.3 15.4 34.9 12  
Sodium g/kg DM 1.2 1.8 0.2 4.6 12  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.3 0.3 0.8 1.7 13  
Manganese mg/kg DM 120 31 85 149 4  
Zinc mg/kg DM 22 1 21 24 4  
Copper mg/kg DM 4 2 1 5 4  
Iron mg/kg DM 155       1  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 1.5       1  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 1.6       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 67.0 5.9 54.2 74.1 19 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 64.0         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.5         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.3         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 56.3 10.6 34.8 73.0 18  
a (N) % 54.8   46.0 63.6 2  
b (N) % 28.6   21.2 36.0 2  
c (N) h-1 0.066   0.060 0.071 2  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 73         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 70   64 75 2 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Alibes et al., 1990; Ammar et al., 2010; Arelovich et al., 2003; Bargo et al., 2001; Carr et al., 2003; CIRAD, 1991; Demarquilly, 1970; Djouvinov et al., 1998; Dougall, 1954; Fulkerson et al., 2008; FUSAGx/CRAW, 2009; Hassoun, 2009; Hedhly et al., 2011; Kondo et al., 2004; McCartney et al., 1994; Meschy, 2010; Neumark, 1970; Pozy et al., 1996; Singh et al., 1992; Tisserand et al., 1989; Turgut et al., 2004; Vargas et al., 1965; Wallsten et al., 2010

Last updated on 11/08/2014 00:00:12

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 30.5 4.6 23.7 38.5 27  
Crude protein % DM 9.5 1.6 6.7 12.1 30  
Crude fibre % DM 32.4 2.6 26.5 35.9 17  
NDF % DM 53.4 5.3 44.2 62.2 15  
ADF % DM 35.9 2.8 29.9 39.5 24  
Lignin % DM 4.1 1.2 2.0 6.0 13  
Ether extract % DM 5.8 1.4 3.4 7.6 7  
Ash % DM 9.4 2.2 6.0 14.9 30  
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 9.7 9.2 0.7 25.7 7  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.6 1.2 17.5 20.2 4 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 4.6   2.2 7.0 2  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 3.1   2.7 3.6 2  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 2.5       1  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 1.8       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 65.0 4.6 57.1 71.7 12 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 60.9 2.4 57.6 63.2 4 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.7 1.1 10.1 12.3 4 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.7         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 63.4 8.4 47.7 73.5 11  
a (N) % 83.7       1  
b (N) % 9.1       1  
c (N) h-1 0.078       1  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 90         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 89         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abeysekara, 2003; Christensen et al., 1977; Christensen et al., 1977; FUSAGx/CRAW, 2009; Grimit, 1984; IAV, 2009; Khorasani et al., 1993; Kondo et al., 2004; Manninen et al., 2005; McCartney et al., 1994; Meschy, 2010; Micek et al., 2001; Wallsten et al., 2010; Woodman, 1945

Last updated on 10/08/2014 23:56:41

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 89.6 5.1 78.6 93.9 7  
Crude protein % DM 3.6 0.9 2.2 6.0 45  
Crude fibre % DM 39.8 5.1 29.6 46.8 18  
NDF % DM 76.0 4.7 67.9 82.7 25  
ADF % DM 44.6 4.7 38.0 52.3 35  
Lignin % DM 6.6 0.5 5.8 7.6 17  
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.6 0.7 2.3 9  
Ether extract, HCl hydrolysis % DM 2.1 0.9 1.4 3.1 3  
Ash % DM 7.4 1.7 4.8 10.0 34  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.0 0.3 17.9 18.6 6 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 2.5 0.9 1.0 3.3 5  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.2 0.7 0.2 2.4 6  
Potassium g/kg DM 14.7 3.9 10.4 18.0 3  
Sodium g/kg DM 2.0 1.1 0.7 2.7 3  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.1 0.4 0.7 1.5 3  
Manganese mg/kg DM 33 14 22 48 3  
Zinc mg/kg DM 20 6 15 27 3  
Copper mg/kg DM 5 2 3 7 3  
Iron mg/kg DM 99       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 48.2 5.5 38.8 58.0 15 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 44.7   43.1 44.7 2 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.1         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 6.6   6.3 6.6 2 *
ME ruminants (gas production) MJ/kg DM 5.1       1  
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 31.0 45.0 -49.7 85.0 9  
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 15.0         *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 2.7         *
MEn growing pig MJ/kg DM 2.4         *
NE growing pig MJ/kg DM 1.3         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


AFZ, 2011; Alibes et al., 1990; Barua et al., 1951; Butterworth et al., 1986; Campling et al., 1966; Chermiti, 1997; Egan, 1974; Freer et al., 1962; Grimit, 1984; Guedas et al., 1973; Lopez et al., 2001; Lopez et al., 2005; Mason et al., 1988; McCartney et al., 2006; Mosi et al., 1985; Nandra et al., 1993; Nsahlai et al., 1996; Pozy et al., 1996; Rogerson, 1956; Sauvant et al., 1985; Sehu et al., 1998; Shand et al., 1983; Singh et al., 2011; Spragg et al., 1986; Tisserand et al., 1989; Wainman et al., 1984

Last updated on 11/08/2014 00:18:40

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Boudon A., Lebas F., 2016. Oat forage. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/500 Last updated on April 13, 2016, 16:26

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)