Illustrious quality wheat gains full milling approval

New group 1 milling wheat variety Illustrious has passed rigorous baking tests to gain full Nabim approval for bread-making use.

The variety from breeder RAGT was added to the 2016-17 AHDB Recommended List last December and now sits in a strong stable of six fully approved milling wheats.

Nabim introduced a more rigorous testing regime three years ago that means commercial quantities of potential bread-makers are tested before being given the green light.

See also: How wheat genetics can help counter low grain prices

This ensures confidence in varieties, both with growers and end users, and Illustrious is the third variety to come through the new system behind Skyfall and Trinity.

Nabim trade policy manager Martin Savage says all these latest Group 1 varieties are “of a type” and have changed the landscape for wheat growers, combining good milling characteristics with high yields.

“The bottom line is we are happy to see this addition, as the more choices farmers have, the better.

“Illustrious’ flour has a higher level of water absorption that is good for bakers, as it makes a spongy dough that bakes well, so it has a good future,” says Mr Savage.

Illustrious is the third highest yielding Group 1 behind Skyfall and Trinity with 100% of control and has good disease resistance characteristics, including a 6 for septoria and the Pch1 eyespot resistant gene.

Fellow RAGT variety Skyfall shares its good disease resistance package and there has been a trend to grow it like feed wheat in recent seasons, using lower inputs and hoping for a milling premium.

However, Mr Savage warns that these newer, high-yielding milling wheats with good disease resistance should still be given the appropriate agronomic care to maximise their potential.

“They still need to be grown as a milling wheat, with the appropriate nitrogen management and disease control,” he adds.

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