Archive Article: 1997/12/13

13 December 1997

Winning a place on the UK Recommended Lists is the industrys seal of approval on new varieties. Gilly Johnson finds out which ones make the grade for 1998.

SO LONG, Brigadier. Despite the large acreage drilled this autumn, the threat of yellow rust has relegated this feed wheat to the back benches; the outclassed section of the new UK recommended list.

But Savannah steps in to fill the gap; a new variety from the same breeding stable (Zeneca Seeds, now known as Advanta Seeds). Those growers who will shed a tear at the demotion of Brigadier may be consoled by the barn-filling credentials of this hard feed replacement. Savannah makes its debut, provisionally recommended, with a top treated yield rating of 106 – a good two points ahead of the its nearest rivals.

This year Savannah is the only wheat to satisfy the NIAB Council which decides on those varieties to be recommended. As well as impressive yields, it boasts stiff straw, good grain characters and reasonable disease resistance.

The critical issue for Brigadier remains its yellow rust susceptibility, which is now rated 1 – too low to pass muster with NIAB. Savannah offers greater peace of mind with a score of 5. But it wont be a low input variety. With septoria tritici resistance rated 4, disease control will certainly be necessary.

Feed wheat Reaper achieves promotion to full recommendation after two years in the provisionally recommended group. However, Group 2 milling variety Caxton doesnt follow it into full recommendation – it moves straight to the outclassed section.

"Compared with the fully recommended Group 2 benchmark, Rialto, Caxtons yields dont stand up," says NIABs John Ramsbottom.

Cadenza joins Caxton as outclassed. Dynamo, Encore, Hunter and the millers old favourite Mercia fall off the list completely. Feed wheat Beaufort is granted a stay of execution and remains in the outclassed section, following good yields last year.

A good performance in a difficult season from soft wheat Madrigal earns it a national, rather than regional, provisional recommendation. Straw strength rating goes up one point to 8.

It had initially been considered a wheat more suited to the north. But southern growers can now be more confident that Madrigal will suit their region as well.

Candidate wheats

Three candidate wheats dont make the grade. Feed variety Blaze (PBI Cambridge) is dropped due to yellow rust susceptibility. Potential bread wheat Chaucer (Elsoms Seeds) is not considered as good as, or better than, the milling varieties currently on the list. The breeder is appealing against this decision.

Hard milling Maverick (Advanta Seeds) is not recommended – despite attracting premiums under buy-back contracts from the Allied group, as being suitable for certain specialist milling processes.

It is considered that its yellow rust susceptibility (now rated 3) is not outweighed by sufficient positive characters to warrant a place on the list. Standing power is moderate to good.

A decision on potential Class 2 breadmaker Cantata (PBI Cambridge) is deferred for more information on quality.

With lodging, a wet harvest and disease pushing varieties hard this year, many scores have changed. And much needed data on sprouting has been gathered.

Points to note include Chargers provisional rating of 2 for sprouting, and a drop of one point on standing power rating to 5. Yellow rust ratings have also been adjusted. Reaper goes up from 3 to 4. Equinox and Madrigal also rate a 4.

For Scottish growers, the recommended list produced by the Scottish Agricultural College includes Savannah as a new entrant, but this variety is considered unlikely to be suited to the important distilling market. Other recommended wheats are Riband, Consort, Madrigal, Rialto and Abbot. Rigorous pruning of the Scottish list has removed Brigadier, Hussar, Charger, Equinox, Reaper, Encore, Mercia and Hunter.

List series

Back with the UK list series. On the spring wheat section, no new names are added. Decisions on both the candidate varieties – Paragon (PBI Cambridge) and Samoa (CPB Twyford) – are deferred. More information on breadmaking quality is being gathered on Paragon. Despite strong end-user support for Samoa, some indications of sprouting and low hagberg indicate further data is required, says Mr Ramsbottom.

Fury (Nickerson Seeds) was reconsidered after being deferred last year. The NIAB Council is not recommending this variety, mainly because of a luke-warm verdict from certain end-users. Promessa leaves the spring list, and Baldus and Avans are demoted to the outclassed section.

EXPORT demand is giving a boost to the UK feed barley sector. And the newcomers on the 1998 list have all the right credentials to satisfy the feed market – high yields, and good grain characters.

Given that malting varieties have stolen the limelight on the winter barley list in recent years, these new barleys revive the attractions of the feed sector, says NIABs Richard Fenwick.

Vertige (marketed by CPB Twyford; bred in France by Serasem) is a feed barley with the winning combination of super stiff straw and high yield potential. It comes onto the list with a treated yield rating of 104, just one point below Regina and the six-row variety Manitou. On yield, this performance makes it the new front runner of all the two-row feed barleys. With good earliness, it is provisionally recommended for all the UK.

Jewel (Nickerson Seeds) scores a special provisional recommendation, due to barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV) resistance. It outperforms the other two-row resistant varieties, Gleam and Epic, by two points. Treated yield is 102, on par with Hanna.

BaYMV resistance is complemented by outstanding all round disease resistance, including an 8 for rhynchospororium. Earliness is similar to Vertige, and Jewel also boasts bold grain of good specific weight.

"Im sure that many growers now have BaYMV in their land, but dont realise it," says Mr Fenwick. "They may see yellow patches in the spring and put on nitrogen, thinking they have cured the problem, but by then the damage may be done by the virus." Instead, growers should be sending yellow plants away for virus testing, he suggests. Even land in Aberdeenshire has been confirmed as being contaminated with BaYMV virus, points out Dr David Cranstoun of the SAC.

The two new feed barleys enter a slimmed down winter barley list. Into outclassed goes a large tranche of varieties: feed barleys Gaelic, Fighter, and Linnet, as well as malting types Angora, dual-purpose Puffin and traditional malting favourite Pipkin. Sunrise and Sprite disappear completely.

High yielding malting varieties Regina and Gleam are promoted into full UK recommendation. However, both are put into the special use section; Regina because of its potential weakness against yellow rust (rated 2), and Gleam for its use as a BaYMV resistant variety. Six-row Muscat is fully recommended for all the UK; Manitou is now limited to a northern recommendation.

Initially entered as a straight feed barley, a decision on Baton (Advanta Seeds) is deferred for more information on BaYMV resistance.

Feed candidate Peridot (Nickerson Seeds) didnt deliver sufficient yield, and is not recommended. Malting barley Spirit (New Farm Crops) failed to meet the high yield standards set by malting types Fanfare and Regina, and so is not recommended. The breeder is appealing against NIABs decision.

SPLITTING and skinning were major problems with Scottish spring barley grains last year. The new entrant to the UK recommended list – malting variety Chalice from New Farm Crops – should allay growers fears.

According to Dr David Cranstoun of the Scottish Agricultural College, this variety is likely to score well on both counts. "There is little varietal information about splitting, but in our experience the variety showing least splitting is Landlord," he explains. In order of merit, it is followed by Prisma, then Optic, with Chariot sitting on the borderline for acceptability. Tankard sits at the bottom of the scale.

Chalice is likely to come in with commendable splitting resistance at about the Prisma level, he suggests.

"Skinning, which also relates to how the husk behaves, may be related to splitting." Again, Chalice would be positioned at the better end of the scale, just behind Landlord, according to information from the breeder. Chalice also offers good resistance to ear shedding.

With Optic proving a fraction late for Scottish tastes, the earlier maturity of Chalice will be attractive. Dr Cranstoun welcomes the arrival of this variety as provisionally recommended for the north-east region.

Malting quality appears to be on par with Chariot, and treated yield score is just behind Optic. Rhynchosporium resistance is two points better than Chariot. Chalice is not awarded UK recommendation; Optic provides strong competition in the south.

Other changes

Other changes to the 1998 spring barley list include special use categorisation for Derkado. This variety is liked by certain distilleries, but because yield is relatively low, needs a premium to prop up profitability, says Dr Cranstoun.

Tankard goes to outclassed, following the recent removal of its Institute of Brewing provisional approval. Southern spring malting barley Alexis is downgraded to an 8 for malting, and also moves to outclassed, reflecting its falling market share. These two malting varieties are joined by feed barley Felicie, which failed to compete against Hart and Dandy. Tyne disappears from the list.

Extract (New Farm Crops) is not recommended, because yield does not match the high standard set by Optic. Ferment (New Farm Crops) and Livet (Nickerson Seeds) fail to meet the best malting requirements, and so are not recommended.

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