Warmer temperatures and increasing interest in high provenance food and drink products are creating new opportunities for cereal growing in northern Europe. Nevertheless, cultivation of oats and barley in these areas for malting and milling remains a challenge, primarily because of the weather, and there are few reports of their nutritional content from this region. In this study, trials in Orkney compared agronomic characteristics and nutritional content of recommended UK oat and barley varieties with Scandinavian varieties over three years. For a subset of varieties, nutritional content was compared with samples cultivated in more southerly sites. For Orkney, barley was considered a more suitable crop than oats because varieties matured earlier. In both crops, Scandinavian varieties matured earlier than UK varieties and some produced comparable yields. The range of values for macronutrients and minerals in oats and barley in Orkney were similar to those reported previously for other locations, but there were some significant differences attributable to variety and year. Compared with grain samples from more southerly locations, oats in Orkney had a significantly lower β-glucan and higher sodium content. The lower β-glucan may have resulted from higher rainfall and lower temperatures during the months of grain filling and maturation.
- Nutritional content
- Maritime environment