Bilby bounces in to change the game for the oats industry

A game-changing new oat variety developed in South Australia, which will be healthier for consumers and has significant benefits for farmers, has been launched at the Royal Adelaide Show today.

The new ‘Bilby’ oat will be available for the 2020 growing season.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the ‘Bilby’ oat is expected to establish itself as a popular variety.

“Farmers are constantly looking for opportunities to grow crops which not only have significant health benefits but provide higher yields and better quality and the new ‘Bilby’ oat ticks those boxes,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The good news for consumers is that Bilby offers high beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol.

“This new variety was developed by researchers at the South Australian Research and Development Institute and we are incredibly proud of the outcomes of this important work.

”The game-changing new oat variety is expected to be hitting supermarket shelves in 2021.

“The potential grain yield of ‘Bilby’ crops, and the higher ratio of the edible part of the grain means higher milling yield, which is positive for processors.

“The new variety has been developed through the National Oat Breeding Program which has produced oat varieties found in many popular porridge and muesli products as well as oat varieties that are exported to Asia as high-quality hay.”

Uncle Tobys Senior Research and Development Manager John Pitcher said his company is looking forward to trialling the new oat variety.

“For over 20 years Uncle Tobys has worked closely with SARDI, through the National Oat Breeding program, to deliver oats that are not only good for our consumers in terms of taste and nutrition, but also good for our farmers and sustainability,” said Mr Pitcher.

“We are delighted that the new Bilby oat delivers not only increased beta-glucan to help lower cholesterol levels, but also enhances paddock yields for farmers, and we are looking forward to trialling the Bilby oats in the upcoming growing season.”

Grains Research and Development Corporation Acting General Manager – Business Development and Economics, Ron Osmond, said oats are an important component of farming systems in Australia, providing growers with profitable grain and hay options in their cropping rotations.

“The nutritional benefits of milling oats are well recognised and we expect consumer demand for this functional food product will continue to increase,” said Dr Osmond.

“It is therefore necessary that growers have access to new varieties that are high-yielding, resilient, well-adapted and of high quality to meet the needs of consumers and support profitable grain businesses.” 

Researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) developed ‘Bilby’ through the National Oat Breeding Program which is a co-investment between Primary Industries and Regions SA through SARDI, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia, Uncle Tobys and Agrifutures. Heritage Seeds is the commercialisation partner for Bilby.

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