12 July 2002

Early-harvest oats are woefully short

SPRING oat growers are "woefully short" of good early-to-harvest varieties and can expect little help from breeders, says the SACs David Cranstoun.

The crop is significant for Scottish livestock producers in the hills, says colleague Gordon McKinney. But limited demand elsewhere means there are few competitors coming through to challenge Firth, which occupies 57% of this years certified seed area.

Early maturity is the essential need. "Firth is not too bad, but we need earlier ones." Markant, a stiff Common Catalogue variety is one of only three Recommended List candidates. It offers 5% more yield. "The problem is that it is a bit late." &#42