Winter wheat yields in HGCA Recommended List trials have slipped slightly as more results have accumulated, but varieties’ relative outputs have remained much the same.

With results from only five more sites to come, overall yield is still nearly 6% above the five-year average and well up on last season, says RL manager Jim McVittie.

“Last year the average of control varieties was 9.5t/ha. This year it’s over 11t/ha.

“We’re seeing things settling down to a fairly consistent pattern of performance.”

The latest results suggest Hereford, as suspected, may perform well in the second wheat slot. But its performance at three sites has been less promising. “It’s fairly susceptible to brown rust,” notes Dr McVittie.

However, determining what drives relative outputs on second wheat sites, where eyespot and variable take-all levels complicate the picture, is never easy, he explains.

With no new Group 1 varieties on the horizon Solstice’s consistency is encouraging, he says.

“Among the Group 2s Einstein hasn’t had quite such a good year, but Cordiale has moved up the pecking order being 2% up on its long term mean. So overall I’d say they are now quite similar.”

Panorama, Gallant, Ketchum and Walpole are all also higher yielding than Einstein, but until baking tests are completed in November their potential as Group 2 competitors remains undecided, he points out.

“They need to be confirmed as milling wheats because their yield isn’t as good as the likes of Group 4 feed varieties such as Oakley.”

A similar comment applies to newcomers Viscount, Cassius and Scout which continue to outyield or match Robigus and Zebedee, he says.

“We need to confirm that they are Group 3 varieties.”

By Tuesday results were still awaited from two sites in Scotland, and one each in Northern Ireland, Cheshire – and Hampshire.

First results of HGCA RL trials: