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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Facts


  • Oats are a cereal grain used primarily as food for livestock, especially horses. In Oklahoma most of the oats planted are used for either pasture or baled for hay. Most goes to feed the state's equine population.
  • A now obsolete Middle English name for oats was haver, which survives in the name of the livestock feeding bag haversack.
  • The plants make excellent straw, and the hulls are a source of the chemical furfural, used as an industrial solvent.
  • Only about 5 percent of oats are consumed by humans, chiefly in the form of rolled oats or oatmeal for breakfast foods. Oats do not contain the glutenous type of protein necessary for making bread
  • Quaker Oats, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the largest cereal company in the world.
  • The early history of oats is obscure, but domestication is considered to be recent compared to that of the other grains–perhaps c.2500 During the Bronze Age, the time when horses were first used as draft animals, oats were widely grown in N Europe but were apparently still uncultivated by the civilizations around the Mediterranean.
  • Theophrastus and Pliny believed that oats were a diseased form of wheat.
  • Oats were once considered a weed which grew with barley and wheat.
  • Oats were introduced into the Americas in 1602 by a sea captain who planted them in one of the islands off the coast of Massachusetts.