SOCIAL PICS: Oat enthusiasts gather at the world’s biggest international oat conference

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
GIWA oat council chair and Narrogin farmer Ashley Wiese, GIWA executive officer Peter Nash and Varley farmer Anna-Lisa Newman.
Camera IconGIWA oat council chair and Narrogin farmer Ashley Wiese, GIWA executive officer Peter Nash and Varley farmer Anna-Lisa Newman. Credit: John Koh/The West Australian

Oat enthusiasts from around the globe met in Perth for the 11th International Oat Conference, with a four-day agenda including field tours, information sessions and oat-product taste testing.

The Australian oat industry took centre stage at the event, with speakers and delegates from countries as far afield as Sweden, Chile, China, the USA, Austria, Canada and many others in attendance.

The four-day affair kicked off with field tours on October 10, before the three-day conference at Crown from the 11th to 13th, which also included a dinner on October 11 and several workshops for attendees.

The event was co-ordinated by the Grain Industry Association of WA and the International Oat Organising Committee, with the conference also going by the abbreviated name OAT2022.

Normally held every four years, the conference was delayed by two years due to WA’s hard border while COVID-19 was sweeping the globe.

Guests at the conference seized the chance to sample some of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre’s innovative oat products, with an oat rice dish proving the favourite so far.

Developed by research scientists from AEGIC, the oat “rice” was prepared and eaten like traditional white rice, with the health benefits of oats.

The special Oat2022 vegetarian nasi goreng dish was prepared in the Crown Towers Perth kitchens using AEGIC’s processed oats.

The oat rice product was part of a suite of innovative foods developed at AEGIC, which also includes 100 per cent wholegrain oat noodles, bubble tea pearls, semolina products such as couscous and halwa, and sauces.

AEGIC Barley and Oat Quality program manager Jack King said Australian oats had a bright future, with international demand for food-grade oats increasing.

“The compelling health narrative around oats means there are significant opportunities in Asia and around the world for high quality and nutritious products made from Australian oats,” he said.

The conference was be held 18 months after news broke that the Australian centre for oat breeding would be shifted from South Australia to Perth to be led by InterGrain at Bibra Lake.

The conference theme was health, with some of the topics to be explored including health trends in oats, oat quality, products and innovation, oat genomics and bioinformatics, oat breeding and genetics, global oat markets, and oat agronomy and global farming systems.

Australia is the world’s second-biggest oat exporter, representing 10-15 per cent of the trade behind the “behemoth” oat exporter Canada at 75 per cent.

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