A new Oats Ireland Forum is to be established for the island of Ireland to help steer research priorities for the years ahead.

The crop, which once occupied around 900,000ha on the island, has dwindled to 25,000ha, but an increasing proportion of the crop is now subject to market premium.

Unlike other cereals, there has been very little active research on oats in recent decades, but the crop is now strongly established as an equine feed and gluten-free oats is adding to its importance in the human food market. But the crop has much more potential, and so the research community is now establishing a forum to help share knowledge and identify future research needs. The forum, which is being managed by Teagasc and AFBI, aims to bring together a range of stakeholders to identify specific research needs and support policymakers.

Its first meeting will take place online on 25 February (9.30-11am). This is open to anyone with a direct interest in oats and registration is necessary. Click here to register.

Topics will include objectives, the potential for oats in food, concerns with mycotoxins, production concerns and the results of an online survey of stakeholder responses.