"The oat crop of the world is nearly 3,700,000,000 bushels annually, most of which is produced in Europe and North America. The principal oat-producing countries are the United States, European Russia, Germany, France, and Canada. In the United States the greater portion of the crop is grown in the upper Mississippi Valley. Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska are the leading States in the production of oats. The annual crop, 1900-1909, of the United States is about 900,000,000 bushels. The market grades of oats depend on the color of the grain and its freedom from mixture and from dirt. The legal weight of a bushel of oats in most of the states is 32 pounds. About 2 pounds of straw are usually produced to 1 pound of grain. The proportion of straw may be materially reduced, however, in some varieties and in some seasons, or it may be materially increased. The hull usually comprises 30 to 35 per cent of the grain, though the range is from little more than 20 per cent to about 45 per cent. Analyses show that oats are higher in protein than corn and about equal to wheat and barley. They are higher in ash than any of the other grains and considerably higher in fat than either barley or wheat. On account of the hulls, oats contain the highest percentage of crude fiber, and undesirable element. Oat straw contains more protein and more fat than corn stover or the straw of any other small grain. Oats are quite largely used as food for man in the form of oatmeal, or rolled oats, a highly nutritious cereal food. Most of the crop however, is used as food for feeding to stock, particularly to horses. No other grain is so popular for feeding to this class of animals. Good results are also secured from feeding oats to dairy cows, sheep, and poultry, though the price of this grain is often too high to justify such use. Oat straw is more palatable and more nutritious than the straw of any other grain and is nearly equal to corn stover. In addition to its use as a feed, it is largely used for bedding and for the formation of manure. Its fertilizing value is about $3 a ton. Hay made from oats or from oats and peas is both palatable and nutritious, being higher in feeding value than timothy hay. These crops can also be used as pasture or cut green for feeding to stock. sheep do particularly well on oats and peas, either when cut for hay or when used as pasture. As oats frequently precede grass or clover in the rotation, they are often used as a nurse crop. They are sometimes used as a cover crop in orchards. -- p. 23-24.
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