General Mills is one of the largest North American buyers of oats.
We are working to improve oat production sustainability and profitability.
Oats are an environmentally friendly crop requiring less irrigation, fertilizer, chemicals and other inputs to grow – making oats more sustainable compared to other row crops.
The crop's fibrous root system reduces soil erosion, improves the soil’s organic matter and increases water absorption.
Oats also are naturally disease-resistant, reducing the need to apply fungicides.
Yet, the supply of oats has steadily declined over the past decades because farmers earn greater profits growing other, more resource-intensive crops.
We collaborate with partners to promote the Canadian Fieldprint Initiative for improving the sustainability of oats and other row crops in western Canada.
In Canada’s Manitoba and Saskatchewan growing regions, we launched the Western Canada Sustainability Pilot in 2013 to measure sustainability of oats and other rotational crops.
By the end of 2015, the Canadian Fieldprint Initiative had collected data from 499 fields representing more than 120,000 acres across western Canada.
Participating growers recorded information about yield, soil carbon, energy use and GHG emissions to establish the minimum three years of data needed to account for crop rotations and serve as the baseline for measuring future sustainability improvements.
We also worked to gain industry alignment around program objectives and processes for reporting progress, brought in more stakeholders and agreed to move ahead during the 2015 growing season with specific, targeted engagements focused on oats, soybeans and pulses.
Oat genetics research
We work across the academic, public and private sectors to improve the nutritional qualities of oats, develop better performing oat varieties with higher yields and help farmers improve agronomy practices to increase sustainability.