Farmers in the north of Scotland are seeing success with Merlin spring oats due to the early harvest, high disease resistance, and unrivalled yield potential.

Ewan Mackenzie, from W and A Geddes Ltd, works with farmers in Caithness. He reports that he has successfully transitioned more than two thirds of the oat cultivation area in the region to Merlin spring oats, with intentions to convert the entire oat crop to Merlin in the coming years.

“We had 10 farmers growing around 809 hectares of Merlin in 2023, and we saw the best yields that I can remember,” said Ewan.

Ewan supplies most of the oats grown in the region to Morning Foods.

“The quality was excellent, with bushel weights at a minimum of 56kg/hl and a maximum of 61.8kg/hl. Yields averaged 3t/ha dried. We had a good bold sample with Merlin, it has good disease resistance, and it had fewer screenings than other varieties.

“What we look for in the North of Scotland is good standing and an early harvest and Merlin has these attributes,” he says.

“Going forward it looks to be the variety we will be using,” adds Ewan.

Merlin is brought to the market by Cope Seeds and Grain and seed-supplied in Scotland by Alexander Harley Seeds.

Douglas Gordon at Alexander Harley Seeds has been pleased with the variety since it was added to the Recommended List in 2021.

“Merlin is an obvious choice for farmers in Scotland who are looking for a robust spring oat, it has excellent quality, minimum screenings, stiff straw, and an excellent agronomic package.

“Merlin is a sound variety for farmers in Scotland for early maturity,” adds Douglas.

According to Gemma Clarke at Cope Seeds and Grain, Merlin is an ‘all-rounder’ for both growers and millers.

“Because of its early maturity, Merlin does well in wetter climates and in Scotland, where early maturity is vital. It delivers consistency and quality to millers, due to its high specific weight, and high kernel content and it has the lowest screening losses of any oat variety on the Recommended List."