7 August 1998

Scots rivals for Riband

SCOTTISH farmers are to get regional management advice and gross margin estimates for two new winter wheats which Nickerson Seeds hopes will knock stalwart Riband off its pedestal.

Claire and Buchan aim to take a greater share of the Scottish distilling market from 11-year-old Riband, which still claims 75% of seed sales.

"We are working with the SAC and Scottish Agronomy to develop a full range of advice," says Nickerson wheat breeder Bill Angus. "These new varieties are quite different to Riband in their needs and our aim is to deliver a package which gives optimum seed rate and drilling time as well as fertiliser, pesticide and growth regulator rates and timings."

The move is welcomed by SAC cereals specialist Dr David Cranstoun. Scottish grain will be worth £40m less this year than in 1996, forcing growers to consider lower production costs, he says. "Farmers know how to grow Riband. But it costs £65/ha (£26/acre) to keep clean. It is time we moved forward"

Two years of yield trials in Scotland show Claire and Buchan have a three percent yield advantage over Riband. Both have good disease resistance, with Claire especially resistant to septoria.

a key weakness of Riband.

* Nickerson also announced two new spring malting barleys – Decanter and Century. They are due for recommendation this autumn ahead of sales in 2000. In trials they outyielded Chariot by 8 and 10%, respectively. Disease resistance is good and malting quality matches Chariot.