Find your farm’s 2016 money-making cereal and OSR variety

A string of exciting cereal and oilseed rape varieties have been added to the AHDB Recommended Lists for 2016-17.

Farmers Weekly has trawled through the 32 additions to see which the seed trade believes will be of most interest to growers.

Here arable farmers can find the latest information on quality and disease ratings for the new winter wheat, winter barley, oat, oilseed rape and spring barley additions. Plus, you can see how they stack up against the conventional varieties.

See also: Put a wheat package together to defeat septoria

Expert agronomists also give their verdicts on the newcomers, considering their usefulness for different markets and their disease resistance.

Winter wheat

Wheat harvesting

© Juice/RexShutterstock

Four newly approved winter wheat varieties are being tipped for success with yield, quality and disease resistance making them stand out from the nine newcomers.

A top-quality breadmaking variety, a new high-yielding biscuit wheat and two barn-filling feed wheats with top resistance scores for septoria were the favourites of the seed trade.

These all highlighted the welcome trend towards better quality, in terms of breadmaking and specific weight, which end users such as millers and animal feed compounders are seeking.

Graham winter wheatMilling wheat variety Illustrious offers a bit extra in quality terms, biscuit-making Barrel gives the yield of a feed wheat, while Siskin and Graham offer extra protection against wheat’s most yield-sapping disease septoria.

Milling quality

Illustrious from French breeder RAGT potentially offers slightly better milling quality than the likes of Skyfall, Crusoe and Trinity as it could be used for breadmaking at lower protein levels than commonly used at present.

Early results from the breadmaker suggest the variety bakes well at lower proteins than the industry standard of 13% and so may require less late nitrogen fertiliser.

Chris Guest, seed manager at Gleadell, says the variety has received favourable early comments from the breadmaking companies and comes with good all-round disease resistance.

“The variety has a bit more quality than its rivals and may encourage the millers to buy more British wheat in the future,” he tells Farmers Weekly.

Barry Barker, national arable seeds product manager at Agrii, says the variety looks pretty useful and the sort of quality the milling and breadmaking end users want.

“Hopefully, it might need less nitrogen fertiliser and give more flexibility for the end user when picking wheats for breadmaking,” he says.

It yields 100% in fungicide-treated trials just behind other Group 1 breadmakers Skyfall and Trinity at 101% and ahead of Crusoe on 98%, while it has yielded in line with Skyfall and Trinity in the main breadmaking region of the East.

The variety has stiff straw, similar to Skyfall, but it is the latest of the mainstream breadmakers to mature, and has the same ripening score as feed varieties Evolution and Santiago.

Some have suggested this could give a good spread of harvest for milling wheat growers who could start with the very early Gallant, move on to Skyfall before finishing off with Illustrious.

Biscuit-making

Of the three biscuit-making group 3 wheats, Barrel from German breeder KWS looks the pick of the bunch with clearly the highest yield in the North across the whole wheat list.

“Barrel looks an obvious choice for northern growers as it is not too late,” says David Waite, northern seeds manager at Frontier.

Mr Barker agrees and says it has the potential to be one of the biggest wheat varieties in Scotland, while Mr Guest adds that the variety has no obvious Achilles heel.

It outpaces the other two biscuit-making newcomers with a yield of 105% ahead of fellow KWS variety Basset on 103% and Spyder from Senova at 101%, and if successful could start to take some share from mainstay biscuit-maker Claire.

Hard-milling

Of the five hard-milling feed wheats new to the list, experts pick out Siskin and Graham for yield and grain quality, while they are the only two varieties on the whole wheat list with a 7 score for septoria resistance with all others ranging between 4 and 6.

Siskin from KWS has the highest untreated yield on the list reflecting its 9s for yellow rust and mildew resistance along with its high septoria rating, and is described by Mr Waite as a good all-round wheat.

“Growers are looking at wheats which are a bit safer to grower, that is why Revelation has done well and it could be why Siskin could do well,” he says.

The variety was originally classified as a Group 2 milling wheat, so has enough quality for the AHDB to say it may be suited to the market for bread wheat exports.

Siskin is well suited to late drilling, is reasonably early to mature and has one of the best specific weights among the feed wheats.

West

Graham, from Swiss-based breeder Syngenta, is the top yielder in the wetter West perhaps reflecting its high resistance score for septoria, but it did not yield particularly well in the North.

Mr Barker likes the look of the variety, which is suitable for early drilling and is early to mature at the level of old feed favourite Diego.

With a yield of 104% it is only just shy of Siskin at 105%.

Some suggest that between the two, Siskin might be more suited to the eastern region while Graham could do better in the West from the AHDB data.

Silverstone from KWS is the top overall yielder on the list at 106%, and takes over from last year’s leader Reflection, now on 105%.

However, Silverstone has the lowest standing power (5) of any wheat variety on the list and is likely to be limited to less fertile medium and lighter soils where lodging is less of the problem.

Crispin, another feed wheat from KWS, yields a little behind Silverstone at 104%, has a strong disease resistance package and is the only one of the five feed wheat newcomers to have resistance to orange wheat blossom midge.

Belgrade from Danish breeder Sejet and sold through Elsoms/Saaten Union in the UK, is just a touch above Crispin at 105% and early to mature, but like Graham and also Crispin did not perform too well in the North.

Seed trade ratings of the new winter wheat varieties

Variety

Rating

Illustrious

★★★★ 

Barrel

★★★★ 

Basset

★★ 

Spyder

★★

Silverstone

★★★

Siskin

★★★★★

Belgrade

★★★

Graham

★★★★

Crispin

★★

New winter wheats v nearest rivals

Variety

Fungicide-treated yield

Illustrious (New)

100%

Trinity

101%

Skyfall

101%

Crusoe

98%

Group 3

Barrel (New)

105%

Basset (New)  

103%

Spyder (New)

101%

Britannia

104%

Claire

98%

Group 4

Silverstone (New)

106%

Siskin (New)

105%

Belgrade (New)

105%

Graham (New)

104%

Crispin (New)

104%

Reflection

105%

Evolution

105%

Diego

102%

Revelation

101%

Winter barley

Barley

© Nick Upton/Robert Harding/Rex Shutterstock

New hybrid varieties Bazooka and Belfry gabbed the limelight among the five winter barley newcomers to the AHDB list with yields stretching ahead of previous top performers.

Both these six-row hybrid varieties from Syngenta push ahead in yield terms of the group’s older hybrid and mainstay variety Volume and rival two-row barleys.

“We are seeing the gap widen with the hybrids now yielding 5% more than the best two-row varieties,” says Gleadell’s Mr Guest.

Bazooka winter barleyBazooka comes in as the overall top variety on the new AHDB Recommended List with a yield of 107% while Belfry is a shade behind at 106% compared with Volume on 104%.

Agrii’s Mr Barker says Bazooka gives a pretty decent yield but he has a concern it may be a bit tall to be grown on strong heavy land where it might be liable to lodge.

It has the highest straw height of any variety at 120cm, which may appeal to mixed farm straw users as long as they can keep the crop standing until harvest.

“Bazooka has the edge over Belfry in term of yield and specific weight quality and looks a good variety,” says Frontier’s Mr Waite.

Bazooka and Belfry have the highest untreated yields on the list with the first variety having the highest resistance score to wet weather disease rhynchosporium at an 8.

Bazooka

The breeder Syngenta suggests Bazooka is very consistent and will do well across the UK, whereas Belfry will be aimed at northern England and Scotland.

Orwell comes from KWS, the breeder of Glacier, Tower and Infinity, and has the highest joint yield of the two-row winter barleys at 102%.

“There is not a lot to chose between the KWS varieties, but Orwell probably has the stiffest straw,” says Mr Barker.

Mr Waite also likes the yield and stiff straw, but says the low mildew resistance score of 3 will need watching, although Infinity and Glacier also have 3s while Tower has a 5.

Surge from Syngenta matches Orwell for yield at 102% and looks a tidy variety although yield is a bit behind other top two-rowers in the North.

A new malting variety Craft from Syngenta has a higher yield than old malting favourite Venture and is under test by the maltsters.

“On paper, Craft looks a good variety with 2% more yield than Venture, but much will depend of what the maltsters think of the variety,” says Mr Waite.

Seed trade ratings of new winter barleys

Two-row varieties

Fungicide-treated yield

Orwell

★★★★

Surge

★★

Craft

★★★★

Bazooka

★★★★★

Belfry

★★★★

New winter barleys v nearest rivals

 

Two-row varieties

Fungicide-treated yield

Orwell (New)

102%

Surge (New)

102%

Infinity

102%

Tower

101%

Glacier

101%

Malting varieties

Craft (New)

97%

Venture

95%

Flagon

92%

Six-row varieties (hybrids)

 

Bazooka (New)

107%

Belfry (New)

106%

Volume

104%

Oats

Two conventional winter oats were added to the AHDB list offering growers higher yields than established varieties.

These newcomers arrive as breeders are looking to find varieties with high specific weight and kernel content with good agronomics.

Maestro, from breeder Senova, gives a fungicide-treated yield of 105% ahead of old favourite Mascani at 97%.

Maestro shows high yield, good specific weight and kernel content but it is weaker strawed and susceptible to crown rust disease.

Lineout, from RAGT, yields 102% and has good specific weight and kernel content along with stiff straw and early maturity.

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape

©Gary K Smith/FLPA/Imagebroker/Rex Shutterstock

Two high-yielding oilseed rape varieties with good resistance to light leaf spot – Elgar and Alizze – were tipped for success in the East/West region out of six newcomers on to the AHDB list, while Alizze scored highly in the North.

Elgar, a conventional variety from Elsoms, shows a clear jump in yield from last year’s list while hybrid Alizze from RAGT is a favourite on both East/West and North lists.

They are the only two varieties – Elgar and Alizze – on the East/West list with a high 7 score for light leaf spot resistance, the most yield-damaging disease of oilseed rape, while all other varieties score between 4 and 6.

“Over the past three years Elgar and Alizze looked to be the two top varieties coming through trials,” says David Leaper, seed technical manager at Agrii.

He adds Elgar has had a remarkable past two years, while Alizze has one of the highest oil contents on the list, and both stand out for their light leaf spot resistance.

Gleadell’s Mr Guest says Elgar is early maturing, has stiff stems and a solid disease package and has “nothing negative about it”.

Elgar shows a gross output of 111%, some 3% ahead of last year’s top yielder V316OL, while Alizze also has an output of 108%. Elgar is slightly earlier to mature and a better phoma resistance (7 rather than 6) while Alizze has the higher oil content.

Two further hybrids, Windoss from RAGT and Wembley from LS Plant Breeders, both have a gross output of 109% and look good all-round varieties.

A further hybrid Angus has a lower output of 105% but gives one of the highest score for phoma resistance at an 8, alongside similar scores for Harper and Fencer.

The final entrant is the conventional variety Amalie from Limagrain, which gains a special recommendation due to its resistance to aphid-spread turnip yellows virus.

“It’s good to see the variety on the list as it gives growers another weapon in the armoury to fight the potential losses from this disease,” says Mr Guess.

The variety has an output of just 99%, but can protect growers from this disease, which can cut yields of susceptible varieties by up to 26%.

North

Amalie oilseed rapeThe North list sees five new varieties added – Barbados, Nikita and V324OL as well as two already on the East/West list Alizze and Amalie.

Frontier’s Mr Waite says Alizze stands out as the variety with the highest gross output at 111%, has stiff stems, good oil content and good resistance to light leaf spot.

Indeed, he adds that three newcomers – Alizze, Barbados and Nikita – are the only generally recommended varieties with a high 7 score for light leaf spot. All the other varieties have scores of 6 apart from specialist clubroot resistant variety Cracker with a 7.

“Light leaf spot is the Achilles heel of oilseed rape growers and the disease is spreading from the North and into the South,” says Mr Waite.

The conventional variety Barbados from KWS has high scores for light leaf spot and phoma (both 7), and an output just behind Alizze at 110%, but is slightly late maturing.

“Barbados is very good on light leaf spot, but may be a bit late maturing for Scotland,” says Agrii’s Mr Leaper.

Another conventional Nikita from Limagrain was initially scored an 8 for light leaf spot but came down to a 7, while it is only a 4 for phoma.

Its output is similar to Barbados’ at 110% and has shown very good early autumn vigour.

The high oleic, low linoleic acid (Holl) hybrid variety V324OL from Monsanto gives growers north of the border a second variety in addition to V316OL.

These varieties have the fatty acid profile to meet demand for high-quality food oil, which can provide the grower with a price premium.

Geoff Hall, Monsanto’s commercial lead for seeds and traits in north-west Europe, says the area of Holl varieties in the ground trebled to 42,000ha, or 9% of the whole UK crop, compared with the previous year.

Next season, the group will have enough seed for 60,000ha or more than 10% of the national crop, with the majority likely to come from these two varieties.

New oilseed rapes for East/West v nearest rivals

Variety

Fungicide-treated gross output

Elgar (New)

111%

Windozz (New)

109%

Wembley (New)

109%

Alizze (New)

108%

Angus (New)

105%

Amalie (New)

99%

V316OL

108%

Incentive

107%

Harnas

105%

Picto

105%

New oilseed rapes for North v nearest rivals

Variety

Fungicide-treated gross output

Alizze

111%

Barbabos

110%

Nikita

110%

V324OL

109%

Amalie

97%

Harnas

111%

Anastasia

110%

Seed trade rating of new North oilseed rape

Varieties

Rating

Alizze

★★★★★

Barbabos

★★★

Nikita

★★★★

V324OL

★★★

Amalie

★★★★

Seed trade ratings of new East/West oilseed rape

Varieties

Rating

Elgar

★★★★★

Windozz

★★★★

Wembley

★★★★

Alizze

★★★★★

Angus

★★

Amalie

★★★★

Spring barley

© FLPA/Rex Shutterstock

© FLPA/Rex Shutterstock

A top-yielding dual-purpose malting variety that can be used for brewing and distilling was the highlight of the five newcomers to the spring barley AHDB Recommended List.

Laureate, from Syngenta, is the top-yielding dual purpose variety at 107% and only 1% behind the brewing-only variety Planet, but as with all malting varieties it may take some time for maltsters to give it the green light.

Agrii’s Mr Barker cautions that it will be May 2017 before the maltsters give their final view on the variety, while many end-users still focus on old favourite spring malting barley varieties Propino and Concerto.

“If Laureate goes well north of the border it will go a long way as its agronomy looks good and has a good yield potential, although its grain size is not the biggest,” he says.

Propino is by far the most widely grown spring barley variety in England, but is only used for brewing, and newer varieties such as Planet and Irina have higher yields.

Brewing

In Scotland, Concerto is the leading malting variety as it can be used in the nation’s distilling industry as well as brewing, but newer varieties such as Odyssey and now Laureate can offer higher yields.

Mr Waite from Frontier says Laureate looks a very interesting variety and especially so for the north as it can be used in distilling and yields well above the industry standard variety Concerto.

“It is the highest yielding variety in the north, and its yield in the north is 14% above Concerto,” he says.

Gleadell’s Mr Guest says there is increasing interest in dual-purpose malting varieties and Laureate’s nationwide yield is 11% higher than Concerto and 5% above the newer variety Odyssey.

“Laureate is taking a step forward in yield terms and looks a good all round variety,” he says.

Two other dual-purpose newcomers include Sassy from KWS and Origin from Limagrain, both with slightly lower yields than Laureate, but Mr Barker believes only one of the three will be successful and Laureate looks the most likely.

All three are early maturing at Concerto levels and have good resistance to mildew, while Sassy is a touch weaker in the straw than Laureate and Origin.

The fourth newcomer Fairing from Syngenta is aimed at the grain distilling market, but is a year behind Olympus in development for this specific end use, and is 6% lower yielding.

Laureate spring barley

Laureate

Distilling

Mr Waite believes Fairing could complement Olympus for this specialist market and give two extra varieties in a sector long dominated by Belgravia.

The fifth and final entrant is the feed variety Ovation from Limagrain, and it has a 1% yield advantage over previous top yielder Scholar.

Mr Waite says it looks a useful feed barley and both Ovation and Scholar could take some market share from the old favourite, but lower yielding, Waggon.

Mr Barker say Ovation is a solid variety and useful addition with good resistance against rhynchosporium, but Mr Guest questions why growers need specific feed varieties when malting variety Planet outyields all others.

Seed trade ratings of the new spring barleys

Varieties

Rating

Laureate

★★★★

Sassy

★★★

Origin

★★★

Fairing

★★

Ovation

★★★

New spring barleys v nearest rivals

Malting varieties

Fungicide-treated yield

Laureate (New)

107%

Sassy (New)

105%

Origin (New)

104%

Fairing (New)

98%

Irina

106%

Olympus

104%

Odyssey

102%

Propino

101%

Concerto

96%

Belgravia

94%

Feed varieties

 

Ovation (New)

107%

Scholar

106%

Waggon

99%