Recommended List: Eight new winter wheat varieties

An octet of winter wheat varieties covering all four nabim groups have been added to the HGCA Recommended List for 2009/10.

“There really is something for everyone,” says RL technical manager Bill Handley.

Gallant from Syngenta Seeds is the first Group 1 breadmaking type to go straight into the list since Xi19 in 2002 which it outyields by 1%.

“Nabim have been really positive about it, which is praise indeed,” says Mr Handley. “Its milling and baking qualities have been consistent over three years and are as good, if not better than the other current varieties, for example Solstice.

“It’s treated yield is 5% higher than Solstice and is quite comparable with Einstein and even the new Group 2s.”

Provisionally classed as a ukp bread wheat for export its protein content and specific weight is similar to Solstice’s, and its Hagberg is the third highest of all Group 1 and 2 varieties.

“It’s also early maturing, like Cordiale, which is another attractive feature for growers wanting to give their quality varieties priority at harvest.”

Its lodging resistance is akin to Alchemy’s.

Disease resistances are much as Solstice but it is susceptible to brown rust, he warns. “That’s the one to watch.”

There are three Group 2 additions.

Nickerson’s very stiff-strawed Panorama yields 3% more than Einstein, albeit with slightly lower protein. It has good grain and milling characteristics, but its baking quality has been variable, notes Mr Handley.

“Overall it produces bread of moderate quality.” So, unsuited to all grists, it will probably be more useful in blends.

A provisional ukp export bread type, it does relatively well as a second wheat and has good yellow rust resistance. “Limited data also suggests it has good resistance to fusarium ear blight, but it’s susceptible to eyespot. That’s the fly in the ointment.”

Ketchum from Syngenta, also provisionally classed as ukp exportable, is only 1% adrift of Panoroma on yield and has also done well in the second wheat slot, says Mr Handley.

“It’s as good as Battalion and not far adrift of the best in that position, like JB Diego and Duxford.”

However its Hagberg and straw strength are only moderate. “It needs to be treated with care. Its protein is also a little low so it does need to be managed.”

Ketchum resists mildew and yellow rust well and signs are that it matches Panorama for fusarium ear blight defences. “That’s a real advantage.”

Nickerson’s Qplus is lower yielding, 5% behind Ketchum, but specifically recommended for growers seeking a Group 2 with orange blossom midge resistance.

Three years of nabim trials show its baking quality to be variable, so the proportions most millers can use in their grists will be restricted. It’s provisionally ukp exportable.

Its Hagberg is only moderate – similar to Hereward’s. “So it will want priority at harvest,” says Mr Handley. “Its protein content is similar to Cordiale’s.

“It has good resistance to lodging – rated 8 – and has no major disease weaknesses.”

Senova’s Scout is the only Group 3 addition.

“Here again nabim have been very positive. They say it’s consistently good as a biscuit wheat with processing quality similar to Claire.”

Provisionally it’s a uks soft wheat for export. “But distillers, unfortunately, haven’t liked what they’ve seen. It’s been a bit disappointing and they’re rating it poor.”

Scout’s treated output is akin to that of Robigus. “So we’re not talking about a big leap in yield, but there are other aspects of the variety which are very attractive.”

These include high untreated yield, the best specific weight of all the Group 3s at 77.7kg/hl and an 8 rating for lodging resistance.

Limited data suggest that it has the same slow early development as Claire making it potentially suitable for early drilling. “If that’s confirmed it’s obviously a bonus.”

Blossom midge resistant Scout also has good disease resistance being the only listed variety rated 9 against eyespot.

Mr Handley admits nabim’s relatively recent decision to classify Viscount, from KWS UK, as a Group 4 variety rather than a Group 3 caused “some consternation”.

“Group 3 is where we all thought it was going to sit. It does meet the criteria for uks soft wheat for export. But British Cereal Exports say the message coming back from labs abroad is that there is a little bit of concern that in some cases it may not meet the specification for Hagberg.

“It’s rated as good by distillers.”

Midge-resistant Viscount has delivered very high treated yields, especially in Scotland, albeit not quite up with Oakley.

Lodging resistance is akin to Alchemy’s, and with good disease resistances – including a 9 rating against yellow rust – it offers very high untreated output.

However, its specific weight is relatively low and 2008 data suggests it may have below average resistance to sprouting. “We need more data*, but it’s only fair to point out that potential weakness and that growers should be aware of that.”

Grafton, a hard endosperm Group 4 from KWS UK, has been added as a specific recommendation for growers wanting an early maturing variety to spread the harvest, explains Mr Handley. It is the earliest Group 4 – as early as Group 2 Cordiale.

“But it has other features which made the committee look favourably on it.”

It offers high treated and untreated yields and its specific weight is good – at 78.1kg/hl the best of the Group 4s.

“It’s also good as a second wheat, it looks as if it’s another slow developer, and it has excellent resistance to lodging – rated 9.”

Grafton’s disease defences are “mixed” with good resistance to yellow rust and eyespot, probably via the Rendezvous gene, but it is susceptible to brown rust.

Cassius from Nickerson joins the list as a Group 4 specifically recommended for the north region.

A soft milling variety it is provisionally classed as uks, but like Viscount there have been concerns over it ability always to meet specific weight and Hagbergs specifications for those markets, says Mr Handley. “However, it is rated as medium by distillers – which is acceptable.”

With lodging resistance “adequate”, like Alchemy’s, and no disease resistance rating below 6, it offers high untreated yield and has done well in second wheat trials, he notes.

Riband, first recommended in 1989, Brompton, Nijinsky and Welford are no longer listed.

  • In a new move this season’s RL trials include plots for nabim grown and combined specifically to assess varieties’ biscuit-making quality. “They will get harvesting priority,” explains Mr Handley.


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