Four new HGCA Recommended List candidate wheat varieties on show at Cereals 2007 marked Syngenta Seeds’ return to wheat breeding.

The four – Duxford, Limerick, Monty and Hereford – were the first fruits from several years of investment in high-tech breeding techniques, including markers and double haploids, according to John Bloomer, global head of cereals.

Both techniques sped up identification of potential new varieties. “It is all about speed. We want to give UK cereal growers better varieties – faster.”

Both Duxford and Limerick were potential Group 2 varieties, Robert Hiles, head of UK cereals, said. Duxford had a two year National List yield of 109% of the controls – four percent ahead of Einstein, while Limerick’s eats and west yields in those trials stood at 106%.

But its north yield was only 96% of the control varieties.

Soft feed wheat Monty could end up the most popular of the four, Mr Hiles believed. He was targeting an 8% market share for 2008 plantings. Orange wheat blossom midge resistant, it’s weak spot could be eyespot, although Mr Hiles disputed its current three rating.

Fellow feed wheat Hereford also had one major weakness – a two rating for brown rust – that means it is unlikely to be recommended. But its extremely high yields – 110% of the controls – should encourage some growers to try it, Mr Hiles said. “Its yield potential more than outweighs the additional cost of controlling brown rust, which is relatively cheap and easy.”

Cereals 2007 news and pictures