SUPPLIES OF the new winter wheat variety Alchemy will be available for sowing this autumn, Nickerson has announced.

Concerns over the rising incidence of strobilurin-resistant strains of Septoria tritici have prompted the variety launch a year earlier than originally planned, the firm said.

“The main driver behind this variety is the need to uprate the Septoria profile of UK crops,” said senior wheat breeder, Bill Angus.

In 2003/04 National List trials, the variety scored 121 for untreated yield, together with 8 for Septoria nodorum and 7 for Septoria tritici resistance, the firm said.

Alchemy enters Recommended List trials this year, so seed supplies are limited, but Mr Angus still expects availability to account for 2-3% of the total winter wheat area this autumn and 10-15% in 2006.

“All being well Alchemy should be recommended next November,” he said.

The variety is classified as a Group 4, soft endosperm type and Mr Angus believes it will be suitable for growers looking at potential export markets under the UKS category.