The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) today announced its second oat research grant. Dr. Lori Warren of the University of Florida will receive more than $146,000 in funding for a two-year research project titled “Can beta-glucan improve the responsiveness of the immune system in horses?” The research project began in June. Warren’s project was recommended for funding by the Equine Oat Research Advisory Board (EORAB) in 2013.
POGA represents 15,000 hard-working Canadian oat growers in Western Canada. The EORAB encourages–and recommends for funding–research projects that will increase the knowledge of equine nutrition and well-being. The Advisory Board brings the best minds from the equine and oat industries together to promote new research. This is the second research grant made by POGA to studying the nutritional effects of oats on horses. POGA has committed nearly $270,000 in research dollars since 2013.
“There is a tremendous need for research on equine nutrition to better understand how we can keep our horses healthy and strong,” said Art Enns, president of POGA. “Dr. Warren’s research project presented a great opportunity for us to better understand the internal health needs of horses, allowing us to continue our efforts in building a platform of factual research in equine nutrition.”
Warren’s study will investigate the potential for oat beta-glucan to improve the responsiveness of the immune system in horses. Beta-glucans are a type of dietary fiber, commonly known to benefit the human body by improving heart health. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved heart healthy labeling for packaging of food products with high levels of beta-glucan. Although numerous studies have been conducted on beta-glucan in relation to the human body, the influence of beta-glucan in equine has never been subjected to in-depth evaluation.
“Oats are a rich source of beta-glucans, whereas appreciable quantities are not found in corn,” said Warren. “This study will investigate the potential for oat beta-glucan to improve the responsiveness of the immune system in horses. If oat beta-glucan can enhance immune function or mediate stress-induced suppression of the immune system, it will greatly improve the value of oats as a main ingredient in equine feeds.”
This is the second research project studying oats and the beneficial effects on horses. The first was awarded in 2013 to Dr. Laurie Lawrence of the University of Kentucky for a two-year study.
POGA will receive funding for this research project from the Government of Canada on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, MP. The funding is administered through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) AgriInnovation Program to help Canadian oat producers sell more of their crop in global marketplaces.
Dr. Lori Warren, PhD, PAS, is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida’s Department of Animal Services. Warren joined the University of Florida faculty in 2004, holding the rank of associate professor with a 70% research, 30% teaching appointment. In 2007-08, Warren served on the National research Council (NRC) Committee tasked with evaluating the safety of dietary supplements for horses, dogs and cats. She currently serves on the executive committee of the Equine Science Society, is a board member of the Florida Feed Technical Council and the Horse Industry Association of Alberta, and is a member of the American Society of Animal Science and American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), a volunteer farmer organization representing 15,000 hard-working Canadian oat growers. POGA created the EFOP in 2009 to research, educate and communicate information about oats to the equine industry. Learn more at www.equineoats.org and www.poga.ca.