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Oats May '24 (ZOK24)

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Contract Specifications for [[ item.sessionDateDisplayLong ]]
Barchart Symbol ZO
Exchange Symbol ZO
Contract Oats
Exchange CBOT
Tick Size 1/4 cent per bushel ($12.50 per contract)
Margin/Maintenance $1,540/1,400
Daily Limit 25 cents per bushel ($1,250 per contract) Expanded limit 40 cents
Contract Size 5,000 bushels
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. (Settles 1:15p.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 ( symbol ZO) on the nearest-futures chart in 2023 closed the year up +5.0% at $3.8575 per bushel.

Supply - World oat production in 2023/24 is expected to fall by -22.7% yr/yr to 19.424 million metric tons, remaining above the record low of 19.340 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 in 2023/24 are expected to be the European Union with 30.4% of world production, Russia with 17.0%, Canada with 13.6%, and Brazil with 5.7%.

US oat production in the 2023/24 marketing year is expected to fall by -1.1% yr/yr to 57.045 million bushels. US oat production has fallen sharply from levels mostly above 1 billion bushels seen from the early 1900s into the early 1960s. US farmers are expected to harvest 831,000 acres of oats in 2023/24, down -1.1% yr/yr. That is far below the almost 40 million acres harvested back in the 1950s. The oat yield in 2023/24 is expected to rise by +5.9% yr/yr to 68.6 bushels per acre. Oat stocks in the US as of December 2023 were up by +16.5% yr/yr at 62.576 million bushels. The largest US oat-producing states in 2023 were the states of North Dakota with 14.0% of US production, Iowa with 13.3%, Minnesota with 11.7%, South Dakota with 9.0%, Wisconsin with 8.0%, and Texas with 6.6%.

Demand - US usage of oats in 2023/24 is expected to fall by -1.2% yr/yr to 136.000 million bushels. US usage of oats in 2023/24 is expected to be 54.6% for food, alcohol, and industrial, 40.4% for feed and residual, 5.0% for seed, and the rest for export.

Trade - US exports of oats in 2023/24 are expected to rise by +4.3% yr/yr to 2.000 million bushels. US imports of oats in 2023/24 are expected to rise by +1.1% yr/yr to 85.000 million bushels.

Information on commodities is courtesy of the cmdty Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the Barchart product line. Please visit us for all of your commodity data needs.

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