We work closely with a network of Scottish farmers, many of whom have supplied us with oats for several generations.
The field is ploughed to prepare for sowing. This buries the crop residue from the previous year's harvest and gives a clean bed for the new seed.
Oats can be planted in both spring and winter. Winter Oats like you see here, are planted in early late September/early October, and Spring Oats are planted in late March or early April.
Our farmer suppliers keep up with the latest trends in farming, and many vary the variety of oats that they use each year to ensure that they will produce the best possible crop.
They look for a seed variety that will produce a good yield, have stiff straw for keeping the plants standing tall, and be early maturing for early harvest.
This particular seed is Dalguise, a popular variety of winter oats, which offers all of these properties.
Specialist equipment allows the farmer to cultivate the soil, sow the seed and fertilise the crop with micro granules all at the same time.
The hopper at the back of the tractor is filled with seed which is sown in drills of around 5 cms deep with 15cm spacing between rows.
The seed germinates two to three weeks after planting, and the oats start to grow. Growth on winter oats then stops until the spring, when the soil heats back up.
During the spring and early summer, two applications of fertiliser are spun on the crop to boost growth, and herbicide and fungicide are sprayed on the field for weed control and disease control respectively.
Early summer is a critical period for oat farmers. The crop needs lots of light, warmth and water to fill the grains, so long days, and periods of both warm sunshine and rain are ideal. This makes the Scottish climate ideal for growing oats.
By mid summer the oats are bright green and around a metre tall.
The oat crop is at its most picturesque in early August, when the oats start to turn golden. Then it's time for harvest to begin.
The crop is tested for moisture before harvest - a moisture level of around 15% is ideal for harvesting.
The combine harvester strips the oats from the straw. The oats are transferred to the harvester's grain tank and the straw is left in the field in rows.
On this particular farm, a neighbouring farmer comes to bale the straw for feeding his livestock.
The oats are tipped into the grain dryer where they are dried and cooled to reduce the moisture level so they can be safely stored until they are collected for transporting to the mill.
Typically the crop will be in the store until late October.
The farmer monitors the oats weekly, recording the temperature of the grain in compliance with Scottish Quality Crops protocol, to ensure that it remains at optimum quality for milling.
When the specialist haulier arrives at the farm, the farmer uses a fork lift to transfer the grain from the store to the truck.
From there the oats are taken direct to our mill in Banffshire, where the production process begins.
If you're a Scottish oat farmer and are interested in working with us, contact your local merchant about becoming a supplier.