UP TO GROUP ONE

Fully recommended winter wheats Solstice and the newer Mascot have been promoted to nabim Group 1 from Group 2 following a review of the UK Flour Millers’ Association wheat guide.

There are 22 newcomers to the Home Grown Cereals Authority’s 2007/08 Recommended Lists for cereals and oilseed rape.

A Group 2 potential bread-maker, Battalion from RAGT Seeds, heads the winter wheat newcomers.

Outyielding Einstein by 1% when treated with fungicide, it is suitable for export in blended cargoes and does very well in the second wheat slot, says RL technical manager Bill Handley.

“It has good disease resistance, though it’s a bit moderate for septoria, but I’d point out that it has the Pch1 Rendezvous-type eyespot resistance.”

Nickerson-Advanta’s Zebedee, a Group 3 biscuit-maker deferred from last year, joins the new list, recommended for the east and west regions. It outyields Robigus by 2%, is rated good for distilling by the Scotch Whisky Association, and should be suitable for export.

Too risky

JUST 12 DROPPED

Only 12 names have been dropped from the latest HGCA lists of varieties.

Launching the fifth set of lists since the work was taken “in-house”, Andrew Cragg, deputy chairman of the HGCA’s R & D committee, pointed out that the annual spend had stayed constant at £1.3m. “That’s very much a saving in real terms.”

But its relatively low specific weight of 74.4kg/hl is considered too risky in the north for it to gain full UK recommendation, explains Mr Handley. Like Robigus, its eyespot resistance is low, he adds.

Humber, a Group 4 hard wheat from CPB Twyford, is notable for its short, stiff straw and resistance to lodging, rating 9 for standing with and without PGR. The only other listed variety with that combination is Welford.

“It has very high treated yield and very good second wheat yield,” says Mr Handley. Its overall disease resistance is good, but it is somewhat susceptible to mildew, he adds.

Competitive

Oakley, the second Group 4 hard wheat from CPB Twyford, is competitive across a wide range of soil types, being only 1% behind top-yielder Glasgow. “It’s especially good as a first wheat on lighter soils,” says Mr Handley.

Like Glasgow, it resists orange blossom midge and has slightly above average Septoria tritici resistance. But it is susceptible to eyespot and its specific weight is only moderate at 2% below Alchemy’s.

The third new Group 4, again hard endosperm, is Saaten Union’s Timber specifically recommended for its disease resistance, reflected in its top-rated untreated output. “It’s one of only three varieties with a Septoria tritici resistance of 7.”

It is also top-rated 9 against mildew and yellow rust. But some mildew was noted in 2006 trials and the factors behind its yellow rust defences have not yet beencategorised.

Both areas will be under scrutiny by the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey in 2007.

 

LISTS TOO LONG-OR JUST THE TICKET?

HGCA levy payers, a large chunk of whose contributions go to produce the Recommended Lists for cereals and oilseeds, may be encouraged to hear that no more is being spent on the exercise than five years ago, writes senior arable reporter Andrew Blake.

That said, as with any outlay, it is the results of that expenditure that really matter. And when the latest list for winter wheat contains more than30 varieties – all recommended to growers – it raises the question of how that can be?

Some will argue that plenty of choice is a good thing, offering varieties to suit as wide a range of niche growing and marketing opportunities as possible.

Critics maintain that bloated lists serve no real purpose, lead to confusion and stray from the true thrust of “recommendation”.

Meetings are expected to be held soon to seek an acceptable way ahead for all. In the meantime why not have your say on FWi.