Wheat yields in the first six HGCA Recommended List variety trials are nearly 20% down on the five-year average at 8.44t/ha compared with 10.25t/ha.

Early results suggested there could be an east/west split in yields, said Simon Oxley, HGCA Recommended List manager. “Welbourn in Lincolnshire, a first wheat site on shallow soil, has a low yield, while Haseley in Warwickshire the highest at 10.4t/ha.”

There could also be a first wheat/second wheat difference too perhaps, he said. The first wheat site in Suffolk on a clay soil had yielded 9.4t/ha, while a second wheat on similar soils in the county had only achieved 6.8t/ha.

Early maturing varieties could be suffering in the trials too. Gallant and Grafton were both, for example, 3-4% down on their long-term means at 95% and 97% of the controls respectively. “Maybe the rain came too late for those varieties,” Dr Oxley suggested.

KWS Santiago led the field in the early going at 113% of the controls, with Cocoon and Conqueror just 1% behind. Of the candidate varieties, KWS Solo and KWS Gator had the highest yields, but both remained 2% behind KWS Santiago on the long-term mean.