The method for assessing wheat maturity is being changed, so that growers and breeders can have more confidence in the final ripening score given to each variety.
“We’ll be doing more detailed assessments on a few of the trials, sampling at late grain fill and doing dry matter assessments on the ears,” said AHDB Recommended List manager Simon Oxley.
“We probably won’t be changing the way that we report the findings, but the data that underpins the score will be more reliable.”
The current method of continual visual assessment may be compromising early maturing varieties, due to the importance given to yield, he acknowledged, as it tends to err on the side of the later ones.
Looking further ahead, he is keen to introduce a consistency score for wheat varieties, so that growers can see at a glance which varieties have given more consistent results.
“Consistency is something that comes with time,” he pointed out. “But it’s also a characteristic that growers are paying much more attention to. It has become one of their key considerations.”
He would also like to introduce a risk score in the future. “Taking a variety’s untreated yield and disease ratings could allow us to develop a risk rating, so that growers can see which varieties are more stable.