Despite problems with yellow and brown rust this year, most Scottish growers are likely to stick with Robigus winter wheat for drilling this autumn.
It is fully recommended for distilling and biscuit-making but is highly vulnerable to the Oxbow strain of yellow rust which has become common in Scotland this year. It should be avoided as a second cereal.
“The resistance of Robigus to other diseases is no longer exceptional and it is vulnerable to sprouting in a wet season,” SAC’s Steve Hoad points out.
But it does offer genetic resistance to orange wheat blossom midge which is becoming a serious pest in Scotland as well as England.
Best of the newer varieties is Alchemy with a provisional recommendation and distilling potential based on laboratory tests. It fails to meet the baking quality standards set by Claire and Consort but has potential for blending into export cargoes.
Specific weight and Hagberg are significantly higher than Robigus and most other distilling varieties.
It has good ratings for foliar diseases, except brown rust where control has been difficult in England this year. Low-level yellow rust has also been found in untreated crops.
Istabraq is now fully recommended based on high yield and good distilling rating, as well as high specific weight.
“Scottish growers should be aware that it has a tall rather weak straw and matures about the same time as Consort,” says Mr Hoad. “It is also vulnerable to mildew but good for S nodorum and Fusarium. Care is needed in sprouting situations.”
Of the hard wheats, Malacca remains popular and is still in demand for bread-making. However, problems achieving the milling specification have encouraged the milling industry to turn to Solstice which has recently been promoted to Group 1 and is more reliable than Malacca.
A new provisional recommendation, Oakley, has produced outstanding yields with resistance to orange wheat blossom midge.