New wheats have something to offer most growers in southern England but they are adding to an already strong list, according to 2005 results announced last week from HGCA/NIAB trials in the south.

Five-year means of trials in Berks, Hants, Glos, Wilts, Dorset and Devon show Einstein, Cordiale, Solstice, Malacca, Hereward and Soissons among group 1 and 2 contenders.

Highest yielder Einstein surpassed the all-site yield index of 105 to notch 106 on a five-yearly basis, and gave two points above the all-site yield of 104 for 2005 harvest.

Reporting on HGCA’s new Recommended Lists, NIAB cereals specialist Clare Leaman confirms, albeit on limited data, that only Xi19 and Mascot did less well in the region.

Xi19 averaged only 101 against its all-site performance of 103 in the past five years, although it bucked the trend in 2005 to go one point better than the mean, at 107.

This was largely due to a whopping 108 rating at both Upper Somborne and Winterbourne Whitchurch sites.

In the group three department, things were even better, with Robigus, Deben, Nijinsky and Claire all topping five-year relative yields.
Deben hit 109 last harvest, with a massive 114 at West Charleton, Devon.

This was against the all-site, five-year and 2005 ratings of 104 and 106 respectively.

Consort and Riband have generally underperformed in the south over the past five years, compared with the rest of the country.

Newcomer Alchemy has been the outstanding five-year group four performer, with a yield index of 112 against 107 elsewhere.

Again the deep, fertile and silty Devon site proved most advantageous to the variety, at 123.

Istabraq, Gladiator, Gatsby and Hyperion — the latter two new to the List — also out-performed in the south.

But Mrs Leaman warns that newer varieties are reporting from a smaller database.

She also notes that group three varieties seem to do relatively well in the region.

Her choice of all types favouring the south includes three of the four newly listed names: Alchemy, Gatsby and Hyperion.

With Einstein, Robigus, Deben, Nijinsky, Claire, Istabraq and Gladiator, that gives the region’s growers plenty to go for.

fwarable@rbi.co.uk