Fieldwise ViewPoint - David Bouch

Evolving Crop Genetics

2018 is a milestone year for Hutchinsons, marking eight decades of service to UK agriculture.

Plant breeding continues to evolve to assist both the grower and the consumer and also more regulations are being applied which in turn provide more legislative red tape.

We have seen neonicotinoids removed from the seed treatment portfolio and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find seed treatments with spring approval - this situation will not become any easier in the seasons ahead.

All the major plant breeders are starting to provide varieties across the crop portfolio with genetic traits that will assist with the challenges of crop production. We see most new winter wheat varieties are now resistant to OWBM, one recommended Oilseed rape variety has TuYV resistance and there are more varieties in the pipeline. The benefit of seedpod shatter resistance has become available in many widely grown varieties and again this is becoming a popular trait with the breeders.

With the loss of ‘Deter’, the latest threat to aphid control in the autumn, we are now seeing the breeders turning their attention to BYDV tolerant varieties with a goal of BYDV resistance. How soon this might appear is open to conjecture, but it is certainly under the microscope.

We are also very aware that Hybrid wheat is on the horizon and this in turn will change the way that we farm in future.

There are testing times ahead and the goalposts will no doubt continue to move, but Hutchinsons as a business is working closely with our plant breeding partners to ensure that we are able to evolve and adapt and in turn support our growers in such a challenging environment.

David Bouch