International Oat Nursery

Introduction & Purpose

The International Oat Nursery (ION) is a global germplasm exchange system for participating public oat breeders and geneticists. The objective of the nursery is to provide new germplasm to oat breeders and geneticists that will allow them to release improved cultivars and to conduct scientific research on oat improvement. The new cultivars will be more productive, have better disease and insect resistance, and have improved quality characteristics that serve the oat industry and consumers.

Numerous oat breeding programs contribute new material to the nursery each year. Entries in the nursery come from the North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and other oat production areas of the world.

This nursery originated in 1974 as part of a project established by Dr. H.L. Shands at the University of Wisconsin with funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The initial project was entitled “Breeding Oat Cultivars Suitable for Production in Developing Countries” through 1976. Quaker/PepsiCo assumed funding responsibilities for the project after the USAID grant expired and the nursery was dubbed the Quaker International Oat Nursery (QION). Quaker had continued support until 2020 with technical leadership provided by appointed public breeders. Funding is now supported through USDA.

The initial focus of the project has been in developing oats for the primary growing areas in South America particularly in Brazil, Argentina, & Chile. This collaboration included nursery visits that facilitate exchange of ideas and germplasm. The nursery distribution is worldwide and reaches more than twenty breeding programs annually.

The ION system is evolving towards a greater geographic reach, more involvement of breeders and geneticists, and the incorporation of new genetic technologies to increase rate of genetic gain in oat variety improvement. Therefore, a set of by-laws and operating procedures are needed. These governing documents can be accessed on left sidebar of this page.

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