13 October 1995

Soft wheats make mark in list tests

SOFT wheats and malting barleys with feed-type yields figure strongly in this years additions for recommended list testing.

Six wheat and three barley varieties have been selected as the best from two years of national list trials. They will be considered for recommended listing in November 1996.

Four wheats – Crofter from Nickerson, Drake from New Farm Crops, Harrier from Zeneca, and Madrigal from PBI Cambridge – are soft-endosperm types.

Their arrival reflects concern in some quarters over the lack of potential replacements for Riband, says Richard Fenwick of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

All equal Brigadier for treated yield. However, none matches Riband for biscuit-making quality. "But you have to remember a lot of soft wheat goes for distilling, export and feed," he adds.

Abbot from PBIC has distinct promise as a high-yielding bread-maker, he believes. Limited evidence shows it makes a good loaf. "On quality its at least as good as Mercia, and its treated yield is only just below Ribands – about the same as Rialtos."

Two other potential bread-makers, Impala, also from PBIC, and Mallaca from CPB Twyford, have been put on the back-burner for a further examination of their quality. Crofter was similarly left off last years trials to re-assess its straw strength and marketability.

The only hard-milling pure feed wheat going into the trials is CPB Twyfords Equinox.

In Nickersons Rifle winter barley and Zenecas Portrait and Spice plant, breeders have repeated their spring variety achievements of combining top yields and malting qualities, says Mr Fenwick.

"Their yields are similar – up there with the best two rows such as Gaelic and Hanna. Their quality is also very good." All score a provisional nine for hot water extract and have low nitrogens.

Deferred for another year is Falcon from PBIC. "Its a malting variety and resistant, like Sunrise and Sprite, to barley yellow mosaic virus. But its quality hasnt been quite as good as that of the other three selected candidates."