Scots neglected by seed breeders, for too long, claim

7 December 2001

Scots neglected by seed breeders, for too long, claim

By Shelley Wright

Scotland correspondent

SCOTLANDS arable farmers have been neglected by seed breeders for too long, says Nickerson Seeds, which launched a new option for the north last week.

"The choice of variety in Scotland has been based on English results, which does not make much sense when the growing conditions are so different," says Bill Angus, senior wheat breeder with Nickerson.

More than 60% of Scotlands 800,000t wheat crop is still Riband, with almost two-thirds of the total crop destined for the distilling market, he says.

"Riband has been a good variety, which grows well in Scotland, but it is out of date now. Offering an alternative would, I believe, be like pushing on an already open door."

Deben could be that variety. "It has a short, stiff straw, high yield potential, high levels of disease resistance and, very importantly, high distilling yields."

Trial work also shows Deben performs well in Scotland, even if drilled late. "The end of February will be quite safe, and growers can even go into March."

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