Winter Oat Breeding for Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


Winter oat breeding for Kentucky Winter oats (Avena sativa) could increase diversity in Kentucky grain rotations, but cultivation is limited due to challenges like winter survival. We propose: (1) leveraging variety trial data to better understand winter survival, (2) plant breeding for winter hardiness, and (3) evaluating oats in a no-till double crop rotation. This addresses KySGGA priorities of breeding new small grain varieties, where oats are another option to reduce winter fallow and increase rotational diversity. Obj 1. Use variety trial data to assess the effects of winter severity on winter oat yield. Winter survival is generally poorer in oats than wheat or rye, but ‘typical’ winter survival across the state is not well established. To address this knowledge gap, I will use the winter oat variety trial data, where yield, test weight, winter survival and heading date have been recorded in most years since 2011. I will examine the relationship between heading date, harvest date, yield and test weight by year as it compares to minimum winter temperature, growing degree days, and other metrics of winter severity. This information can help set baseline expectations of the effects of a ‘typical’ winter on yield and how that may shift with warming winters. Obj 2. Winter oat breeding. Developing winter oat varieties well adapted to Kentucky climates and crop rotations will enhance winter oat productivity in the state. I began a winter oat breeding program at UK in August 2022, and am both trialing advanced breeding material from North Carolina State University (Dr. Paul Murphy), and using that and other diverse material (e.g., Noble Foundation, USDA-GRIN) to generate new oat varieties for Kentucky. In this next season, I propose expanding the current trial locations (UK North Farm and Logan County) to include UK research stations in Princeton and Versailles. In all locations, winter survival, heading date, yield and test weight will be assessed. In locations close to Lexington (UK North Farm, UK Versailles), I will also measure stand density every 3-4 weeks after planting to track plant growth over winter to assess the relationships between growth rate, biomass, and winter survival. In addition to expanding advanced trials, I will increase the number of oat crosses made from ~50 this season to 200 next season, and these new families will be evaluated in following years. Obj 3. Evaluate viability of winter oats in a no-till double crop system. Winter oats will likely be grown in a no-till double crop rotation, and so it is useful to test how they compare to wheat in terms of subsequent soybean yield. At both North Farm and Princeton, we will grow replicated plots of four varieties each of oats and wheat followed by a single soybean variety in a no-till system. We will assess soybean yield and quality from each of those plots to assess if there are advantages (or disadvantages) to double cropping with oats.
Effective start/end date9/1/2312/31/24


  • Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association: $10,933.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.