Early maturing wheat varieties have performed far better than later varieties this year, according to trials results from Syngenta.

In tests on three sites in East Anglia, earlier varieties had much bolder grain than later crops, which had suffered more from disease pressure, said James Evans, cereals crop team agronomist.

“It has been a very difficult growing season, with very high disease pressure,” he said.

“Septoria has been a big issue, which has not been the case for the past few years, and it’s been very difficult for farmers to apply inputs when they wanted to.

“Every crop has been under a great deal of stress – we saw a lot of late fusarium, and the catchy harvest hasn’t helped either.”

In the trials, which were all based on medium loam soils, the early variety Gallant had more than 80% bold grains, with 20% being shrivelled. Solstice produced similar results.

But the later variety Invicta had almost 60% shrivelled grains, with Oakley only doing slightly better, said Mr Evans.

Thousand grain weights were similarly affected, with Gallant averaging 50.9g, Solstice 47.5g, Invicta 35.1g and Oakley 39g.

“The early varieties have tolerated the disease pressure better than the later varieties, which has translated through into better quality sample results.”