Plenty of candidate winter wheats were being exhibited at Cereals, with most being Group 4s.
This year's unusually challenging growing season should help to pull them apart, said variety expert Clare Leaman of NIAB TAG, who pointed out that there was a large chunk of varieties which looked very similar on paper.
"The disease and lodging pressure that we're experiencing will really highlight any differences between them," she commented.
Of RAGT's three candidate feed wheats, Cougar was attracting the most interest, said wheat breeder Ed Flatman. "It's a high yielding soft feed wheat at a yield level of 110%, with the foliar disease resistance that's needed this year."
That includes a 7 for septoria tritici and 9s for both yellow and brown rust, he revealed. "It also has resistance to orange wheat blossom midge."
But Cougar won't be suitable for distilling and is one of the latest maturing candidates, he added.
Chronicle, a hard feed wheat with yields just below that of Cougar, has better grain quality than its stablemate, he continued. "It also has good straw strength, which will be apparent this year, and medium maturity."
QI is the least likely of RAGT's three to go forward, he admitted. "It's a soft feed type which won't make biscuits, but does have export potential. Unfortunately, there's a yellow rust weakness too."
Also showing three feed wheat candidates was Limagrain, with a line-up comprising Myriad, Revelation and Coronation.
Leading the group is the soft wheat Myriad, said the company's Lee Robinson. "At this stage, it appears to be suitable for distilling, biofuels, export and feed markets, so it has strong market appeal."
Myriad's good all round disease resistance is matched by orange wheat blossom midge resistance, he added.
Revelation is another high yielding soft wheat with robust disease resistance, but the same late maturity as Cougar, he noted.
Senova unveiled Havana, a hard feed wheat with a yield of 109% and a very respectable set of disease resistance ratings, as well as better grain quality than most of the group. Bred by Blackman Agriculture, it also has short, stiff straw and resistance to orange wheat blossom midge.
KWS had no less than six winter wheat candidates, but just two of them were being highlighted as front runners.
Hard feed wheat, KWS Kielder, with a whopping yield of 113%, is expected to sell well. Another late maturing type, it is short and stiff, reported breeder Mark Dodds. "Like many of our varieties, it's a high input, high output type."
Potential Group 3, KWS Croft, is the company's other key contender, he suggested. "It takes yields on in that sector, up to Oakley levels. So it will be of interest."
Elsoms was also able to showcase a potential Group 3 winter wheat in Weaver. Two years of industry testing suggest very good biscuit quality, said Bob Miles, as well as suitability for the distilling and export markets.
With a yield of 107% and good all round disease resistance, Weaver has medium maturity.
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