Australian Oats - a bit about where they come from – Dad's Oats

Australian Oats - a bit about where they come from

This is from a interview/samples provided to Paddock to Plates, program to educate Australia schools on where their food comes from.

As part of the program Dad's Oats provided oat stems/head and raw oats.

What is Dad’s Oats?

Dad's Oats is a paddock to plate small business. We take oats grown on our family farm, process them, package them and then sell to stores, cafes and online direct to customers. We love to be able to tell the story about where our oats are from, what steps we take to get them from our farm to your brekky bowl. Over the past few years our small business has grown a lot and we now supply thousands of customers right around Australia.

Who is involved? 

Dad's Oats was started by siblings Peter and Alicia Cain.

The oats are grown by their Dad & Mum and eldest brother Matthew & wife Kate at their fifth generation farm, located at Natte Yallock, North-Central Victoria.

What was required to get the oats on stem in the box? 

The oat seeds are planted in mid to late Autumn, they grow through Winter reaching a height of about 20-30cm by early Spring. Then as the weather turns warmer and with good rainfall, they grow to a height of 60-100cm height and by late Spring they form 'heads' on the end of the stems (where the oat seeds grow).

By early Summer (December) the plants and heads start to dry off in the heat and by then the seeds have fully formed and filled (per what you see in the stem).

How does Dad’s Oats produce oats for our consumption? 

In December we harvest the oat heads with our harvesting machine (known as the 'Header'), which cuts off the stems, knocks out the seeds in a big rotating drum as it drives along. The oat seeds (or 'oats') are then stored in a silo until they are ready to be processed at a special processing facility.

The processing involves taking off the outer shell of the oat ('dehulling') and then steaming and rolling the inner grain (which is called the 'groat).

We sell four different types; Traditional Rolled Oats, Quick Oats, Groats and Steel-Cut Oats. The traditional oats are the most common and often used for porridge and muesli, the quick oats are rolled thinner and cut smaller so that they are quicker to cook when making porridge, groats are the whole oat grain (before it has been rolled), the steel-cut oats are the groats which have been chopped with a steel blade into small pieces,
Once the oats have been processed, we then put them into a sealed bag or box and send it to the stores, cafes or direct to customers who have ordered online.

When are oats in season?
Autumn: sowing
Winter: slow growing
Spring: fast growing
Summer: drying/harvesting

Tips on planting the oat seed at school to grow a plant (students can plant the oat seed that’s on the stems to grow their own, turning this into a bigger project)
Plant in moist but drained soil, small amount of fertiliser and keep moist/watered as plant grows.

Where is Dad’s Oats located and why? 
Natte Yallock, where our farm is located in North Central Victoria, is a temperate climate, relying on winter/spring rainfall rather than irrigation.

We grow oats along the banks of the Avoca river, which are flat paddocks with clay/sandy loam soils.

Why are Australian grown oats so important?

Oats are an important grain used in breakfast products such as porridge and muesli along with other snacks like muesli bars.

They improve gut health, help lower cholesterol, and provide long lasting energy for the body when eaten for breakfast.

Many parts of Australia have the perfect climate for growing oats and they are considered to be a very sustainable crop to grow.