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Cereal variety choices for autumn 2016

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Keeping in mind the issues that the current season has presented such as the significant disease pressure and lower farm gate prices, now is an ideal time to look at wheat varieties for autumn 2016, that will help to tackle these issues going forward, says David Bouch, of Hutchinsons.

He believes that there are a number of new varieties that will be of interest, as well as some that will continue to be favoured because of their remarkable consistency.
 “Growers that may not have considered growing quality wheats in the past might now do so, as some of the new varieties do not present yield penalties.  There are two notable milling wheat varieties with very good disease resistance.”

David Bouch of Hutchinsons

“New for this autumn is RGT Illustrious, the highest yielding untreated Group 1 variety in the 2016/17 AHDB Recommended List. It also has excellent bread making credentials. Skyfall, also from RAGT, has a proven track record with a very solid disease profile, stiff straw, early maturity and is quick to develop, especially when drilled early. Skyfall is the only variety within the group that has orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance.”

Of the Group 2 wheat varieties, Mr Bouch believes that KWS Siskin stands out by virtue of having the highest untreated yield compared to any other variety on the Recommended List. ”The variety’s septoria tritici resistance is second to none and it offers many end-market opportunities. As Siskin’s yield potential is comparable to the best, some growers may choose to treat it as a ‘barn filler’, with any subsequent quality premium being considered a bonus. Siskin performs well throughout the UK and in particular the south and south west, making it a variety that must be considered for this coming autumn.”

“Of the new Group 3 biscuit wheats varieties, both Barrel and Basset from KWS offer little or no yield disadvantage to the very highest yielding group 4 wheat varieties. Both have OWBM resistance and are suitable for export and biscuit making. With the yield potential that these new varieties offer, there is a possibility that sales of Group 3 varieties will increase, having lost market share over recent seasons. However, there is only enough seed available for 1% of plantings for autumn 2016.”

The proportion of soft Group 4 feed wheat varieties on the Recommended List have declined in favour of hard varieties. KWS Silverstone is now the highest yielding variety available, but its standing ability will need careful management, lending itself to later drilling. It is also suitable for lighter soils, says Mr Bouch.

He suggests that another option and new for autumn 2016 is Graham from Syngenta. “This variety is high yielding with excellent foliar disease resistance and is the only other variety in this group that scores 7 for septoria tritici. Graham can be drilled early, where this is a requirement, and benefits from early maturity.”

Of the older varieties, Mr Bouch says that JB Diego and Santiago continue to offer remarkable consistency, whilst Evolution offers excellent disease resistance and is notable in particular for its outstanding yellow rust resistance.

Evolution offers excellent disease resistance and is notable in particular

“As yellow rust pressure has been high this year, growers might mitigate this particular risk by choosing Evolution, as it also offers exceptional yield potential.”

“Costello from Senova is a new variety that was limited in supply last autumn but worth consideration. Its strengths are different from competitors in that it has good all-round disease resistance, but with the addition of quite exceptional grain qualities. Specific weight is in excess of 80 and the Hagberg falling number is over 300. The specific weight characteristics could help to reduce unwanted claims against price or redirection charges,” he says.