Cereals 2012: New rust races may force variety re-think

New rust races have highlighted the antisocial nature of some of the dominant feed wheat varieties and could herald a re-think on variety choice, HGCA Recommended List manager Simon Oxley told visitors to Cereals 2012.

“Just six feed varieties take over 40% of the wheat acreage,” he revealed. “But some of them have proved to be very high maintenance this season. Your neighbour won’t thank you for growing them.”

The top sellers are JB Diego, KWS Santiago, Oakley, Duxford, Grafton and Conqueror, he revealed.

“Oakley is a good example of an antisocial type,” he noted. “It’s just been classed as very susceptible to the new Warrior race of yellow rust, so you have to think about where you’re going to grow it and how you will cope with the disease threat if you stick with it.”

KWS Santiago is now rated susceptible to the same race, he added.

“Fortunately, we have some new high yielding feed varieties which still have good resistance. Relay and KWS Gator are two examples.”

Relay seed is selling well, reported Lee Bennett of Openfield. “It’s a variety which offers something different. As well as its yellow rust rating, it tillers very well. That’s good for blackgrass situations, where you need a competitive type.”

He can see it taking market share from Oakley, KWS Santiago and Conqueror. “It’s also a natural second wheat, so might challenge JB Diego in that slot.”

But David Waite of Frontier Agriculture doesn’t anticipate much movement amongst the top sellers. “People will stick with the likes of JB Diego, KWS Santiago and Conqueror,” he predicted. “All three are in demand.”

Yield remains the top priority, he added. “Agronomic characteristics come after that. The new additions don’t take yield on, so they aren’t likely to make a big impression.”

You can find more news, new kit, videos and photos from Cereals 2012 on our Cereals 2012 events page.

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