HGCA Recommended List preview: Winter wheat

Crops asks variety experts which winter wheat candidates are likely to make the 2008 HGCA Recommended List.

THE CANDIDATES

  • Duxford, Hereford, JB Diego, Limerick, Marksman and Monty

Duxford appears out on its own due to its consistent yield data and suitability to both first and second wheat slots, says Mr Williams.

Mr Fenwick agrees. “With a yield of 106 and some bread-making quality, it should get on the list. It would be the highest Group 2 variety so long as millers back it.”

It is tall, but has good lodging and moderate disease ratings, he adds.

Mr Stephenson believes it is destined for the late-drilling window.

Hereford is unlikely to make the list, all three agree. It can yield well, especially as a second wheat, though Mr Fenwick believes this is an anomaly which merits further investigation. But its “appalling” brown rust resistance and weak straw outweighs its barn-filling potential.

“It’s unlikely to be any better than other high yielders,” adds Mr Stephenson.

JB Diego is the dark horse, albeit in pole position, say Messrs Fenwick and Williams.

“It looks the most promising new barn-filler and should go through,” says Mr Stephenson.

It had little limelight during the season, but did well in TAG trials, notes Mr Cotton. Yielding just below Oakley, it has good grain quality and stands well.

But its “mediocre” disease resistance, particularly to mildew and brown rust, counts against it, says Mr Fenwick.

“It may well get recommended, but will it catch the imagination of growers? Probably not.”

Drilling

Limerick and Marksman both have bread-making potential, but could struggle to make the list, especially when compared with the likes of Einstein and Battalion.

Marksman has good disease resistance, but its yield is nothing to shout about,” says Mr Stephenson.

“Limerick is another Group 2 with stiff straw that looks promising for early drilling.

“But it’s going nowhere in yield improvement.”

Despite having potentially good eyespot resistance, Marksman showed substantial root lodging in many 2007 trials, adds Mr Williams.

Monty is resistant to orange blossom midge, but with relatively low yield and eyespot and fusarium weaknesses, it has no redeeming features that might merit its recommendation, our reviewers agree.

The best of the bunch

Mr Harbour, who grows only Group 1 wheats, sees little of interest among the RL candidates.

“When you can grow 10t/ha as a second wheat using Latitude, the newcomers have got to be as good.”

Mr Cotton regrets that one coded variety in RL trials (which was to have been called Rocky) is no longer a candidate.

“It’s unfortunate that it ran into problems, as it showed some promise and the industry urgently needs a good soft biscuit wheat.”

For Ms Carroll, JB Diego “looks the best of the bunch”.

High-yielding, low-disease varieties which stand well are her main need on the silt land around the Wash, and none of the candidates seems to offer a particular advance.

“I think some of the coded varieties for next year or the year after look a lot more promising.”

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