Yields look promising for winter wheats in this season’s HGCA Recommended List trials, says Jim McVittie, RL manager. “They’re up about 4% on last year so far.”

Results from two-thirds of trials are still to come in, mainly from the north and west, but trends are starting to develop.

Breadmaking variety Gallant shot to the top of the RL Group 1 list last year for its high yield potential and protein content, but so far performance is disappointing. “Yields have dropped and are similar to Solstice, notes Dr McVittie.

But there is no clear explanation for the results. “Two sites are particularly low and both are first wheats.” However, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern, he says. “Yields are still 3% higher than Solstice on the over-years mean.”

Solstice’s performance remains good, but yields are slightly lower than last year, he adds.

Of the Groups 2s, Cordiale is out-performing control variety Einstein. Battalion, with its good performance as a second wheat, is matching the control and new varieties, Ketchum, Qplus and Panorama are also yielding well, he notes.

Five breadmaking candidates entered this year’s trials – Curlew, Sterling, Horizon and Quartz from KWS and Kingdom from Syngenta Seeds. “They are all yielding well, but Sterling is on top so far.”

Of the Group 3s there is little to choose between Warrior, Invicta and Edmunds. “It will be down to end user’s preference.”

New recommendation Scout is yielding less than control Robigus, but growers will still be attracted by good disease resistance, he says.

Of the pure feed contenders, Conquerer, which narrowly missed the RL last year due to a slight weakness on specific weight, is yielding well and will be reconsidered. “It needs to have an economic benefit over Oakley to make the list.”

Yellow rust susceptibility is starting to be a concern for Oakley, but its yield potential still takes some beating, he notes.

Using Oakley as a control, replacing lower yielding Claire, has resulted in lower mean yields than last year. “Results can’t be compared to last year and the over-years mean gives a more accurate representation.”

New Group 4 recommendations are performing well with Cassius consistently good and Grafton particularly promising in a second wheat position. “Viscount is also performing as expected.”