'Merl' (Reg. No. CV-1052, PI 658598) soft red winter (SRW) wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), developed and tested as VA03W-412 by the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, was released in March 2009. Merl was derived from the three-way cross 'Roane'/Pioneer variety 2643//'38158' (PI 619052). Merl is a broadly adapted, high-yielding, mid-season, moderately short, semidwarf (Rht2) cultivar having above-average straw strength and milling and pastry-baking qualities. Merl is resistant to powdery mildew [caused by Blumeria graminis (DC.) E.O. Speer] and moderately resistant to stripe rust (caused by Puccinia striiformis Westend.). In Virginia, Merl ranked among the top five cultivars for grain yield with a 3-yr (2007-2009) average of 5725 kg ha -1 . Merl had a mean grain volume weight of 76.4 kg hL -1 across 22 environments, which was significantly (P < 0.05) higher (1.9-3.0 kg hL -1 ) than that of the other top-yielding cultivars. In USDA-ARS Uniform Eastern SRW Wheat Nursery trials conducted at 29 locations, Merl ranked sixth among 46 entries for grain yield (5917 kg ha -1 ) and seventh for grain volume weight (76.0 kg hL -1 ) in 2006 and ranked second among 45 entries for grain yield (5529 kg ha -1 ) and sixth for grain volume weight (75.7 kg hL -1 ) in 2008. Merl has a soft grain texture, flour softness equivalent values from 57.5 to 60.8 g 100 g -1 , and straight-grade flour yields from 70.5 to 71.5 g kg -1 . The flour protein concentration (7.5-8.7 g 100 g -1 ) and gluten strength, assessed via lactic acid solvent retention capacity (101-104 g 100 g -1 ), of Merl are lower than average. These quality attributes contribute to Merl's above-average pastry-baking quality (cookie-spread diameters of 17.93-18.93 cm).