Booming demand for oat milk is not expected to slow down any time soon, with the global market expected to surge to $3.7 billion in the next four years partially driven by rising international interest in veganism. The assessment and how the demand could benefit farmers was laid bare at the world’s biggest oat conference in Perth on Wednesday, during a presentation by an international oat expert hailing from Canada. Oatinformation president Randy Strychar, one of more than a dozen headline speakers at the 11th International Oat Conference, said the global oat industry was booming at a level he had not seen in his more than 40 years working in the specialised field. Mr Strychar said global demand for oat milk was expected to grow from $2.51 billion last year to $2.74 billion this year at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 per cent, before rising a further 7.8 per cent to $3.70b in 2026. Mr Strychar, speaking on day three of the four-day event at Crown Perth, said the rise in the international vegan population was helping to “propel the growth of the oat milk market going forward”. “The oat and beverage market has been a game changer for oat markets globally,” he said. “A lot of oat mills are taking oat flour… previously they would discard it, now they are able to use it.” CBH chief marketing and trading officer Jason Craig also hailed the oat milk market as key for industry, with the potential to turbocharge domestic consumption. “This will be an important market for the oat market across Australia and particularly the domestic market,” he said. “The majority of the oat exports are coming out of WA… because of our population, with only 2.5 million people our consumption is very small and any of that capacity is going for export. “The majority of the investment here has been focused on the export market, where as Victoria and South Australia are very focused towards the domestic market. “I suspect we will see a rapid increase (in investment in oat processing) in Australia.” However, Mr Craig ruled out the potential for CBH to invest in oat milk production. WA growers who deliver oats to CBH become stakeholders in the rapidly growing oat export market in 2018, after the cooperative opened a 60,000-tonne-a-year processing facility in Perth. Oat-product manufacturer Blue Lake Milling is a wholly owned subsidiary of CBH, with processing plants in South Australia and Victoria. Its head office is in Bordertown, South Australia. Australia’s biggest grain handler, Co-operative Bulk Handling, is believed to have paid more than $40 million for Blue Lake Milling and its facilities in Bordertown and Dimboola in 2015. It was CBH’s biggest acquisition since 2005, when it paid about $100 million for a 50 per cent share in Interflour, and continues a strategy of investing in downstream processing.