30 August 2002

New varieties are jostling list pack

By Andrew Swallow

NEW wheat varieties are pushing current Recommended List leaders for pole position in yield terms.

With 16 out of 18 variety trials in, Robigus continues to top ARC work and as of Tuesday it was running just behind Biscay and Savannah in RL work.

Biscay leads the RL work with 10 out of 33 results reported as of Tuesday. Savannah has performed well, only a point off the pace at 104%, which is a point ahead of Robigus, Einstein, Richmond and current RL list leader Accesss performance, at 103%.

Accesss output is a point behind its previous four year mean but Richmonds stablemate Chatsworth, also from Cebeco Seed Innovations, is one of the biggest fallers, tumbling to 92% this year compared to its previous four-year mean of 96%.

"A lot of farmers are really pleased with Chatsworth but that counts for nothing. We cant explain why its not performing in RL work," says Cebecos Gerry Cooke.

Xi19 has also slipped somewhat in the RL work so far, averaging 99% of controls compared to a previous four-year mean of 103%. However, whether that reflects the as yet unexplained chlorosis on some crops in July is not clear. (Arable, July 12).

"It did show some leaf tipping in our work in the south, along with some other varieties, but it is too early to make that link," says NIAB trials co-ordinator Bill Handley. Results from Itchen Stoke, Hants where the chlorosis was particularly noticeable are expected this week.

In ARC work Xi19 is about 3% down on its performance last year, says director Mike Carver, less than was anticipated considering the leaf loss reports, he comments.

At this stage there is no apparent correlation between sites where the chlorosis symptoms were seen and poorer yields. Indeed, the variation in yield across all sites with the variety is less this year than last, he notes.

Richmond and Biscay were not grown in the ARC variety work but Marshall, a variety passed over for RL recommendation some years ago, continues a top performer, coming in second, some 3% behind Robigus.

Both varieties are highly susceptible to yellow rust, notes Dr Carver.

"There is good experience in the industry on how to control yellow rust so I do not see this as too formidable a problem." &#42

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WHEATS TO BEAT

* Robigus 3% ahead with ARC.

* Biscay top in RL.

* Savannah doing well.

* Xi19 and Chatsworth trail.

ENDS 410 WORDS

WHEATSTOBEAT

&#8226 Robigus 3% ahead with ARC.

&#8226 Biscay top in RL to date.

&#8226 Savannah doing well.

&#8226 Xi19 and Chatsworth trail.