24 July 1998


New winter wheat and

barley varieties are getting

a good test this season.

Charles Abel relays the

latest thinking on varieties

vying for a place on the

1999 UK Recommended

List this autumn

&#42 Winter wheat

SIX new winter wheats and one deferred variety are competing for inclusion on the 1999 UK Recommended List.

Quality is to the fore with five claiming bread-making potential, one suited to biscuit-making and another to distilling.

"The emphasis this year on end markets is gratifying," says John Ramsbottom, head of combinable crops at NIAB. "These are pretty timely developments for the market."

Of the varieties with bread-making potential Malacca, from CPB Twyford, is drawing most interest from millers and bakers. "It is a provisional NABIM group 1 variety, outyielding Hereward, with very stiff straw and early maturity," says Mr Ramsbottom.

Seed is already available in some quantity, notes NIAB. Susceptibility to yellow rust race Yr6,17 is being checked.

Shamrock from Advanta is a stiff-strawed variety with yield to match Riband and good bread-making quality. Wild wheat parentage gives the variety a unique bright green look and disease resistance is good. "Its appearance has certainly attracted favourable farmer comment this season," notes Mr Rams-bottom. However, eyespot and brown rust resistance may be weak.

Shango, from PBIC, also offers bread-making potential. But standing power and straw length are rated moderate. Yield is one point ahead of Shamrock. Mildew resistance is rated four.

Aardvark, from CPB Twyford, offers some bread-making potential and yield to match Brigadier. "It has extremely good disease resistance, giving very high untreated yields too," says Mr Ramsbottom. "But its quality aspirations have been dashed and end users are now saying it is more likely to be a NABIM group two or four variety. It is not a top ranking quality variety."

Buchan, formerly named Nemesis, is a soft feed variety from Nickerson. "It has very stiff straw and good lodging resistance, which has been much in evidence this year. However, it is a little susceptible to yellow rust, around the Madrigal level," notes Mr Ramsbottom.

The variety does not make good biscuits, but could go for distilling in the north.

By contrast Claire, also from Nickerson, is a soft feeder with good biscuit making characters. Disease resistance is good, treated yield 1% ahead of Consort and 3% up on Riband. Although yellow rust resistance rates nine, mildew is a potential weakness rating five.

"It combines end user appeal and yield, which makes it a challenge to Riband and Consort. It is a most promising looking variety at this stage," says Mr Ramsbottom.

&#8226 Also due for consideration this autumn is Cantata from PBIC, which was deferred last year pending further information on quality, protein content and standing power.

&#42 Winter barley

FOUR winter barley varieties are competing for inclusion on the 1999 UK Recommended List, plus one deferred from last year. But only one has any pretensions to malting quality.

Pearl from Nickerson could be a companion variety for Regina, suggests Mr Ramsbottom. "Yield matches Regina and malting quality is promising." Resistance to mildew and Rhynchosporium is good, but maturity can be late.

Heligan from CPB Twyford is a feed barley with treated yield matching Regina. Resistance to net blotch and brown rust is good, giving high untreated yield and it also stands well.

Flute from PBIC is a high yielding feeder which could suit farms where arable management is not the main priority. "All round disease resistance is extremely high – this is the Aardvark of winter barleys. On its figures it should give a real saving on inputs," says Mr Ramsbottom.

Angela from Nickerson is a 6-row feed type with resistance to the common strains of barley yellow and barley mild mosaic virus. Yield is 5% above Regina. "It could give Muscat a bit of a run for its money," notes Mr Ramsbottom.

&#8226 Also seeking a place on the new list is feed variety Baton from Advanta which was deferred last year pending further information on barley yellow mosaic virus resistance.

&#42 Oilseed rapeA MUCH tighter approach to Recommended List candidate selection was introduced last autumn for winter oilseed rape. The new, so-called fast track system means there are just four candidates up for consideration for the 1999 Recommended List.

The normal approach will be for varieties to complete two years of national List trials before promotion to candidate status. "But," explains NIABs Simon Kightley, "to keep advice to growers as sharply focussed as possible, a fast track approach has been adopted for outstanding material completing year one of trials, with the main selection process taking place at the end of year two.

With limited funds and no sign of breeders enthusiasm for the crop waning, the Oilseeds Trials Advisory Committee decided last June to limit the number of varieties being selected at the early stage. "In the past we have had up to 14 coming through after year one. Clearly that resulted in a proportion of funding being spent on also-rans. This season we took just four out of an entry of 62 varieties."

"Its worth noting that there are 87 varieties provisionally entered for NL1 trials this autumn," says Mr Kightley.

Of the four vying for inclusion on the 1999 list two are conventional varieties and two are hybrids.

The three-way hybrids, one coded R3 from CPB Twyford and Cargills Comodor, outyielded varietal association Synergy by 3% in their first year trials.

The two, as yet unnamed conventional types, from Limagrain and DLF Trifolium, were only 3 and 4% lower yielding respectively. "Thats quite a small gap," he says.

"But those results were achieved in a year when there was relatively little lodging compared with this season," he stresses.

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