15 September 1995

Winter wheat trials indicate good choice for all markets

"OUTCLASSED" winter wheat, Haven, was joint top yielder in official trials this year. That highlights the danger of basing choices on one seasons results, says NIAB.

Haven apart, most varieties lived up to expectations, leaving a good choice for all markets, says Richard Fenwick, head of combineable crops trials.

Interim results from 17 trials show there is little change in the relative performance of curr- ently recommended and candidate varieties.

Yields from treated trials were slightly down on the five-year mean of 9.61t/ha (3.8t/acre). But untreated output at 8.05t/ha (3.2t/acre) was up 0.4t/ha (3cwt/ acre), reflecting generally low disease pressure.

For out-and-out yield, Brigadier remains the main choice, backed by Hussar offering lower input costs, says Mr Fenwick. This is despite both succumbing, along with Beaufort, Chianti and Reaper, to a new strain of yellow rust.

The low disease year probably stopped Hunter, with its good overall resistance, showing its full potential. But it is already "slipping away" as a prime choice.

Haven did notably well, its treated yield matched only by the candidate bread-maker Charger. But Havens susceptibility to sprouting makes it a risky choice, he warns. "In a wet year its grain quality can be disastrous."

Consort higher yielding

Riband will stay popular, he predicts, but Consort is higher yielding with better disease resistance and equal market potential.

Back-up varieties Buster, Beaufort, Dynamo and Encore, each with individual attributes, should not disappoint on yield, he adds.

With millers views more open, bread-making selection is easier. Hereward, the first choice, and Spark offer top premiums. Despite doing better than usual Mercia loses out on yield, though it remains useful in the north, he suggests.

Of the lower-premium NABIM group 2 types, Rialto had a good year, matching Brigadier in treated yield. But Mr Fenwick says it is worth remembering its variable performance in 1993, albeit mainly due to blossom midge.

Lower yielding Cadenza and Genesis need higher premiums to compensate. For early harvest the choice has to be Soissons, despite its slight yield penalty. But it should not be sown too early, he warns.

Of the candidates, Charger will be useful, especially if its claimed bread-making quality is confirmed. "Chianti and Reaper offer good all-round packages of high yield, good disease resistance and wide marketability." Raleigh looks competitive as a feed. But Magellan gave rather low, treated yields, concludes Mr Fenwick. &#42