Wheat

Top-yielding winter wheat feed variety Gravity could take as much as 15% of the certified seed market at this autumn’s drilling, making it one of the top two varieties for harvest 2019.

The area down to seed production for this hard-milling feed variety is the second largest after breadmaking variety Skyfall, so there will be enough seed to drill 10-15% of the certified seed wheat area later this year.

Both varieties come from the RAGT stable of breeders and group managing director Simon Howell is confident the variety will meet the needs of feed wheat growers this autumn as high yields equate to high returns.

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“Hard feed wheat still makes up over 50% of the market and as milling wheat premiums come under pressures growers will looking for high yields from feed wheats,” he told Farmers Weekly.

Skyfall challenge

Gravity makes up 1-2% of the seed market for harvest 2018, which will give enough seed for 10-15% of the market for this autumn’s drilling, challenging Skyfall which has a leading wheat market share of 10-11% in the ground and enough for a 10-15% share this autumn.

This could put Gravity at number one or two this autumn, vying with Skyfall for top spot and ahead of other popular wheat varieties such as Siskin and Graham. The certified seed market makes up about half of the overall seed market, with the other half coming from farm-saved seed.

The variety Gravity entered the AHDB 2018/2019 Recommended List last month, with the highest fungicide-treated yield of 106%, ahead of Siskin, Graham and Santiago (all 103%) and Diego (101%).

Consistency

Celia Bequain, the breeder of Gravity, says the variety’s key attribute is its consistency over the past three years of trials and over a wide range of conditions.

“We are looking for yield, quality and disease resistance, so we think the overall package for Gravity is good,” she said.

The variety performs very well on medium to late drilling, on light and heavy soils, and as a first or second cereal; in fact, in most conditions apart from very early drilling.

“In the challenging year of 2017 the variety performed well when wheat crops rushed through their growth stage in a dry spring and then were hit by heavy summer rainfall,” she said.

Straw strength

Lodging resistance is scored 7, in line with Graham and Diego, better than Siskin and Sundance on 6, but it is not as strong strawed as Skyfall and Grafton on 8.

Specific weight at 76.6kg/hl is slightly below Graham and Siskin, although above poorest performing Sundance, at 75.0, but well below top performer Costello, at 81.1.

Gravity has moderate resistance to septoria at 5.2 in the scale, which varies from top variety Sundance, at 7.4, down to Santiago at 4.3, and is behind popular varieties Siskin and Graham, on 6.9.

“Gravity has the highest yield in the west, so in the worst wet conditions for septoria it has shown the best yield,” said Mr Howell.

Key agronomic factors from the AHDB Recommended List

    Gravity Graham Siskin Santiago Diego Skyfall
Fungicide-treated yield 106 103 103 103 101 100
Untreated yield 83 88 86 69 74 82
Resistance to lodging 7 7 6 7 7 8
Specific weight (kg/hl)   76.6 77.1 77.7 76.1 78.4 78.9
Disease resistance            
Mildew 4 7 9 6 6 5
Yellow rust 8 8 9 7 5 6
Brown rust 6 6 5 5 6 9
Septoria tritici 5.2 6.9 6.9 4.3 5.3 6.0