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Oats Mar '18 (ZOH18)

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Barchart Symbol ZO
Exchange Symbol ZO
Contract Oats
Exchange CBOT
Tick Size 1/4 cent per bushel ($12.50 per contract)
Daily Limit 20 cents per bushel ($1,000 per contract) Expanded limit 30 cents
Contract Size 5,000 bushels
Trading Months Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Dec (H, K, N, U, Z)
Trading Hours 7:00p.m. - 7:45a.m. and 8:30a.m. - 1:20p.m. (Sun-Fri) CST
Value of One Futures Unit $50
Value of One Options Unit $50
Last Trading Day The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month


Oats are seeds or grains of a genus of plants that thrive in cool, moist climates. There are about 25 species of oats that grow worldwide in the cooler temperate regions. The oldest known cultivated oats were found inside caves in Switzerland and are believed to be from the Bronze Age. Oats are usually sown in early spring and harvested in mid to late summer, but in southern regions of the northern hemisphere, they may be sown in the fall. Oats are used in many processed foods such as flour, livestock feed, and furfural, a chemical used as a solvent in various refining industries. The oat crop year begins in June and ends in May. Oat futures and options are traded at the CME Group.

Prices - CME oat futures prices ( electronic symbol ZO) on the nearest-futures chart rallied to a record high of $5.6375 per bushel in March 2014, but then fell sharply during the remainder of the year to post a 2-1/2 year low and close the year of 2014 down -14.3% at $3.0375 per bushel. Regarding cash prices, the average monthly price received by farmers for oats in the U.S. in the first eight months of the 2014-15 marketing year (June/May) fell -13.0% yr/yr to $3.28 per bushel.

Supply - World oat production in 2014-15 fell -5.4% yr/yr to 22.333 million metric tons, moderately above the record low of 19.625 million metric tons posted in 2010-11. World annual oat production in the past three decades has dropped very sharply from levels above 50 million metric tons in the early 1970s. The world's largest oat producers are the European Union with 35.3% of world production in 2014-15, Russia 22.4%, Canada with 13.0%, and Australia with 5.2%.

U.S. oat production in the 2014-15 marketing year rose +7.8% yr/yr to 69.684 million bushels, above the 2011-12 record low of 53.649 million bushels. U.S. oat production has fallen sharply from levels mostly above 1 billion bushels seen from the early 1900s into the early 1960s. U.S. farmers harvested 1.029 million acres of oats in 2014-15, which was down -2.0% from the previous year's record low. That is down from the almost 40 million acres harvested back in the 1950s. The oat yield in 2014-15 rose +5.6% to 67.7 bushels per acre. Oat stocks in the U.S. as of September 2014 were up +17.1% yr/yr to a 74.310 million bushels. The largest U.S. oat-producing states in 2013 were the states of Wisconsin (12.5% of U.S. production), Minnesota (11.3%), North Dakota (11.0%), Iowa (5.1%), Pennsylvania (5.0%), and Michigan (4.0%).

Demand - U.S. usage of oats in 2014-15 fell -5.5% yr/yr to 164.000 million bushels, above the 2011-12 record low of 106.360 million bushels. Regarding U.S. usage of oats in 2014-15, 51.8% was for feed and residual, 42.1% for food, alcohol and industrial, 4.9% for seed, and 1.2% for exports.

Trade - U.S. exports of oats rose +27.6% yr/yr to 2.000 million bushels in 2014-15. U.S. imports of oats in 2014-15 rose +2.9% yr/yr to 100.000 million bushels, below the 2007 record high of 123.29 million bushels.

Articles from the Commodity Research Bureau (CRB) Commodity Yearbook. The single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available, the Yearbook is the book of record of the Commodity Research Bureau, which is, in turn, the organization of record for the commodity industry itself. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope is second to none. Additional information can be found at More commodity data from Commodity Research Bureau.

More commodity data from Commodity Research Bureau.

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